A satire on the failure of the combined efforts of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, and Nicholas Biddle to thwart Andrew Jackson's treasury policy. In 1833 Jackson ordered that federal deposits be removed from the Bank of the United States, a controversial action that utlimately led to the Bank's destruction.
To the right, beneath columns marked "Pensylvania," "Virginia," "New York," and "Georgia," sits Andrew Jackson smoking a clay pipe and conversing with Jack Downing. Behind him are strong boxes of "Deposites" the topmost of which is marked "Foundation for a National Bank." Leaning on them is the figure of Liberty with a staff, liberty cap and flag reading "Public confidence in Public funds." At her feet is an eagle with shield, arrows and lightning bolts.
Downing: "...Gineral, this is a real shiver de freeze! You've sent Clay to "pot" eny how "nullified Calhoun," made "Webster" a "shuttle cock and busted Biddle's Bank biler!"
Jackson: "Aye, Aye, Major Downing they thought they'd give us a dose of Congress Water, but they find what we're "Bent on" and we've given 'em a hard Poke into the bargain!" He refers to support for his program spearheaded in Congress by Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton.
On the left a marble-based water fountain explodes, hurling aside (clockwise from upper left) Nicholas Biddle, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John Calhoun.
Biddle: "The fountain from the which my current springs or else dries up to be discarded thence,--"
Webster: "Thus vaulting ambition doth o'er leap itself and falls on t'other side."
Clay: "Sic transit gloria mundi. "Le jeu est fait, The game is up."
Calhoun (losing his cockaded hat and bayonet): "United "we" stand, divided I fall. Fonte nulla fides."
Also thrown from the fountain are a "National Gazette," "Ginger bread," a bottle of "Boston Pop," and a plank "American System."
"Explosion. . ." is one of the few satires favorable to Jackson on the Bank issue. It is very similar in terms of composition and draughtsmanship to another pro-Jackson satire "The Downfall of Mother Bank" (no. 1833-9), and could easily be by the same artist. Both are signed with the commonly-used pseudonym "Zek Downing." "Explosion" was recorded as deposited for copyright on February 1, 1834.