Seeking a middle course between the issues of the annexation of Texas on one hand and abolitionism on the other, Van Buren lost the support of southern Democrats, including elderly statesman Andrew Jackson. Here the artist portrays Van Buren as a dog with a fox's bushy tail, leading his master (Jackson) astray.
Jackson says, "Matty! Matty! it strikes me that you are leading me wrong--By the eternal! we shan't find Texas here."
Van Buren insists, "We must take a middle course, boos. Salt river is on one side, and abolitionism is on the other."
To their left is a man wearing striped pants and holding by their tails two dogs with the heads of James Polk and George Dallas. The man may be Brother Jonathan (as Weitenkampf suggests) or, judging from his boldly striped trousers, a representative of Loco Foco Democrats. He says to Jackson, "Here, Almighty sir! are a couple of pups well broken, who will come when you whistle for them & go where you wish. "That dog" has too much fox in him." Polk and Dallas were chosen Democratic nominees in late May.