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Complete Explanation:
The movement of several Southern states toward secession in early 1861 is portrayed as a doomed enterprise. The artist shows Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, all represented by men riding donkeys, following the lead of South Carolina toward a cliff. South Carolina, who rides a pig, pursues a butterfly "Secession Humbug." A sixth man, Georgia, rides down an inclined path rather than follow the group, confessing, "We have some doubts about "the end" of that road and think it expedient to deviate a little."

South Carolina, reaching for the butterfly, says, "We go the whole hog.--Old Hickory is dead, and now we'll have it." His reference to Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory") is in keeping with the anti-Democratic line of the cartoon. The work is in fact based on an 1837 satire criticizing Jacksonian fiscal policy and its bullionist pursuit of the "Gold Humbug." (See "Fifty Cents. Shin Plaster," no. 1837-11.)

Florida, immediately behind South Carolina, cries, "Go it Carolina! we are the boys to "wreck" the Union." Next follows Alabama, who declares, "We go it blind, {grave}Cotton is King!'" Mississippi says, "Down with the Union! Missippi "repudiates her bonds."" Last is Louisiana, who says, "Go it boys! We'll soon taste the "sweets" of secession," alluding to the state's domination of the sugar trade.

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