A burlesque history of the Jackson administration, with particular reference to his campaign to destroy the Bank of the United States. The narrative, in a series of twelve episodes, is based on Cervantes's "Don Quixote," which recounts the adventures of the don (here Jackson) and his squire Sancho Panza (here Jackson's vice president and successor Martin Van Buren). The episodes are as follows:
1.Jackson as Don Quixote, "redresser of grievances, the writer righter of wrongs," sits meditating in his study. A pair of military boots hover in the air at left. On the walls are portraits of Nero and Dionysus.
2.Jackson/Quixote kneels to receive his Doctor of Laws degree to the obvious amusement of several onlookers.
3.He attempts to thrash sacks of money labeled "U. S. Deposits" in a "certain public house" (the Bank of the United States) but is restrained by Bank president Nicholas Biddle and by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, the latter shielding the sacks with the Constitution. This is a reference to the conflict over Jackson's 1833 order for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank.
4.He confronts a crowd bearing signs reading "Petitions for the restoration of deposits," "N. York Mechanics" and "Virginia Resolves," reflecting public protestation of the removal order.
5."Don Quixote's Attack on the Giants" shows him charging the United States Bank building, as Van Buren/Sancho looks on.
6."Don Quixote's Interview with the Canon" has Jackson discussing his aspirations for "making myself an emperor" and furthering the career of Van Buren. The canon may be "Globe" editor Francis Preston Blair or influential adviser and strategist Amos Kendall. A painting of Jackson, titled "Washington 2d" hangs behind him.
7."Don Quixote Chagrined at the statement of Nicholas" shows Jackson angrily confronting U. S. Bank president Nicholas Biddle with the latter's written refusal to "surrender the books & papers & funds committed to them [i.e., to the Bank] by Congress without a revocation by congress first."
8."Private Confab between Sancho and his Master" shows Van Buren reporting to Jackson on his poor public image. On the table is a "Report of the committee on the removal of the deposits" and a copy of the "Globe" newspaper.
9."The Don and Sancho with eyes and ears stopped mounted on their hobby [horse]" ignore the winds "pressures, petitions, failures," and "Virginia Resolves" blowing about them. Jackson is armored with kitchenware made by "B. K. & Company Washington." The armor symbolizes the insulating nature of the advice and influence of Democratic publicists and prominent members of Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet," Francis Preston Blair and Amos Kendall (hence "B. K. and Company"). The knight sits astride a wooden horse labeled "Great National Shaving Shop."
10."Don Quixote Addressing certain Bound captives whose liberation he in vain attempted to accomplish" refers to the retention of the pension accounts for Revolutionary War veterans by the Bank.
11.In "Constitutional Insanity or the Don About to Figure it on Board Ship" Jackson says to Van Buren, "You must know . . . that this vessel [the Constitution] is here on purpose without a possibility of any other design to call & invite me to embark."
12.The narrative concludes with Jackson's retirement and Van Buren's inheritence of the problems of the presidency. "The Knight on his Way Home and Sancho in the High Road to Promotion" shows Jackson riding off toward his Tennessee estate, the Hermitage. Van Buren meanwhile is tossed into the air from a "Map of the United States 1837" held by several grinning men including (directly below the rider) the artist himself.
Clarence Brigham's tentative attribution of the print to David Claypool Johnston, cited by Weitenkampf, is undoubtedly accurate. The print compares closely to earlier comic etchings by Johnston, such as "Foot-Race" (no. 1824-4), and to his annual albums entitled "Scraps," issued from 1830-1849. Moreover, the self-portrait in the final scene is very similar to that which appears in the last vignette in the 1837 issue of "Scraps."