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MATTY MEETING THE TEXAS QUESTION.
   
Complete Explanation:
A satire on the Democrats' approach to the delicate question of the annexation of Texas. In marked contrast to his portrayal of the issue as a beautiful woman in "Virtuous Harry" (no. 1844-27), the artist here presents Texas as the ugly hag War or Chaos, brandishing a dagger, pistols, whips, and manacles. She embodies the threat of war with Mexico, feared by American opponents of annexation. The whips and manacles in her left hand may also allude to slavery, whose expansion into the new territory was desired by southern annexationists. Bucholzer parodies Van Buren's evasion of the controversial and sectionally divisive issue and Democratic candidates Polk and Dallas's motives in favoring the measure.

Senators Thomas Hart Benton and John C. Calhoun confront Van Buren with Texas, whom they support on a plank across their shoulders. Calhoun says, "Come, Matty, we introduce you to the Texas Question, what do you say to her Ladyship?" Van Buren, backing away, replies, "Take any other shape but that and my firm nerves shall never tremble!" Andrew Jackson, who prods Van Buren from behind with his cane says, "Stand up to your lick-log Matty or by the Eternal you'll back into Salt River before you know it."

In the background right are Polk and Dallas. Polk says, "What say you Dallas? She's not the handsomest Lady I ever saw but that $25,000 a year-- Eh! it's worth a little stretching of Conscience!" (The annual salary of a U.S. President was $25,000.)


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