A ludicrous contrast of two influential Democrats, the obese Alabama Representative Dixon Hall Lewis and gaunt "Globe" editor Francis Preston Blair. The artist comments upon the unlikely alliance established in early 1840 between the Van Buren administration and certain Southern legislators in the circle of John Calhoun. Insinuation of Blair's corruption is also made.
Lewis sits on a bench, holding his hat and walking stick before him. Blair embraces him with claw-like hands, saying, "I think Buchanan [i.e., Democratic senator from Pennsylvania James Buchanan] is making forcible illustrations of the bad effects of an inflated currency. Eh! my fat 'all y'?"
Lewis responds, "Why I think, my "galvanized" friend that "you" & "I" illustrate best contraction and expansion! but d--n it Frank, it's strange you can't get fatter upon your Congressional corncrib & Treasury pap?" Blair was once called "a galvanized corpse" by South Carolina Congressman Francis W. Pickens.
Two "Globe Reporters" in a gallery on the right remark, "I say Tom there is a hint in the way of geography--showing the comparative size of "Alabama" & the Globe." and "Yes! I think L--s appears quite resigned to the pressure of our lean governor's "specie claws!"
"Expansion & Contraction" appears to be by the same hand as "Locofoco and Nulification Nuptials" (no. 1840-46).