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Complete Explanation:
The second in a series of caricatures criticizing the secession of several Southern states from the Union during the last months of the Buchanan administration. Here the young nursery-rhyme shepherdess Bo-Peep represents the Union. She stands at left wearing a dress of stars-and-stripes bunting and with an eagle beside her, watching as seven of her sheep flee into a forest of palmetto trees infested with wolves. (The palmetto is the symbol of South Carolina, the leading secessionist state and first to dissolve ties with the United States.) The wolves wear crowns and represent the European powers which some feared would prey on the newly independent states. They prowl about and say, "If we can only get them separated from the flock, we can pick their bones at our leisure."

Back in the clearing, grazing about Bo-Peep, are the remaining flock, two of which are labeled Virginia (closest to her) and Kansas. An old dog "Hickory" lies dead in the grass while another, named "Old Buck," flees toward the left. Bo-Peep vainly calls, "Sic 'em Buck! sic 'em! I wish poor old Hickory was alive. He'd bring 'em back in no time." Buck is lame duck president James Buchanan, who proved ineffectual against the secessionist threat to the Union. "Old Hickory" was the nickname of former Democratic president Andrew Jackson, venerated as a champion of a strong federal union.

Although unsigned, the print seems on stylistic grounds to have been drawn by John H. Goater, the artist responsible for numbers one, three, and probably four in the "Dime Caricatures" series.

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