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Complete Explanation:
The artist belittles the Democrats' relatively undistinguished choice for presidential nominee in 1852, Franklin Pierce. The cartoon is based on Aesop's fable about the mountain which, being in labor, groaned so dreadfully as to arouse the attention of multitudes of onlookers, only to send forth a small mouse. Aesop so reproved those who through rumors, promises, and other great pretentions raise the expectations of mankind only to disappoint by meager performance. The cartoonist's analogy is to the Baltimore Democratic Convention of June 1852, which selected Pierce, a relatively obscure New Hampshireman, as its presidential nominee.

Pierce, as a mouse, scurries from a small hole at the base of New Hampshire's White Mountains at right. At the lower left a bobcat, Whig candidate Winfield Scott, crouches behind the rocks, saying, "Come this way, my little fellow, I'm watching for you!"

At right, a swan representing Free Democratic candidate John P. Hale floats by on a stream. In the background, on the far side of the mountains is a crowd of men, the "Baltimore Convention." One declares, "After all, this is rather a small affair of ours!" Another replies, "Very true: and there is the more necessitty for making great noise about one little mouse."

"White Mountains in Labour" probably appeared in late summer or early autumn 1852, since Hale was not nominated until the Free Democrats' August convention.

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