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THE PRESIDENTAL SWEEPSTAKES OF 1844. Preparing to Start.
   
Complete Explanation:
Again, the race motif is used to parody election-year rivalries. (See "Footrace, Pensylvania Avenue," no. 1844-41). Here the artist portrays the candidates as horses, lining up before a stand from which several prominent political figures watch.

First in line is Henry Clay, ridden by jockey Daniel Webster, who says, "My horse was Foaled in the Old Dominion, bred in Kentuck--And has beat every thing out West!"

Clay is closely followed by a bucking horse with the head of James Polk and jockied by an unidentified man who exclaims, "Old Diploma I think will beat them all except the "Mill Boy" [i.e., Clay] his Rider Black Dan is such a Jockey on the Course that he will always have the inside Track!"

Next is pony Martin Van Buren with a fox's tail, ridden by Thomas Hart Benton, who complains, "I am afraid my Poney has been too badly beaten by old Tip ever to run again." He refers to the 1840 election when Van Buren was defeated by William Henry Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe."

Hefty Alabama senator Dixon Lewis rides John C. Calhoun exclaiming, "I am call'd one half of Alabama. I would give the other half to have my high Mettled Racer Nullify them All!" A one-armed man riding Richard M. Johnson says, "Tecumseh [i.e., Johnson] cannot begin to run against the '"Mill Boy" of the Slashes' [Clay] he is so long in the Reach, and gathers so quick!"

The last contestant is the stumbling nag John Tyler, ridden by his son Robert who is holding a paper labeled "repale" (i.e., Irish repeal) and says, "My Sire has ran well with Old Tip and by St. O'Connell, I think he would distance them all if it was not for his having those Cursed "Bolts" he must die! and nothing can save him." "St. O'Connell" is the Irish patriot leader of the repeal movement Daniel O'Connell.

Watching from the grandstand are (left to right): editor Francis Preston Blair, an unidentified man, John M. Botts, lieutenant governor of New York and Van Buren foe Daniel S. Dickinson, and New York senator Nathaniel P. Tallmadge.


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