Hunkers Attend! Fire Away!!


Although the donkey was not recognized as the Democratic Party’s unofficial mascot until the late 19th century, opponents of Andrew Jackson had famously referred to him as a “jackass,” leading political cartoonists to include depictions of donkeys in works critical of him during the 1828 Presidential Election. Jackson then famously countered his opponent’s taunts, celebrating the beast’s strong will and determination. Even so, the animal was still used throughout the mid-19th century politicians that critics found distasteful. This broadside uses the animal to symbolize James Buchanan during the 1856 Presidential race. The caption above the donkey announces, “Hunkers Attend! Fire Away!!” Hunkers was the term employed during the 1840s to describe members of the conservative Democratic faction in New York that opposed calls for abolition. A caption below the image explains that the animal represents a true likeness of Buchanan, nicknamed “ten cent Jimmy” after he stated his belief that ten cents was a fair daily wage for manual laborers. The print also refers to Buchanan as the candidate for the “Damed-Black-Rat Party,” a play on the word, “Democrat.” The cartoon also contains two songs, “Old Buck’s Song,” and Fremont’s Song.” The first attacks Buchanan while the second celebrates John C. Fremont, the Republican candidate for President. The print ends with a postscript, “‘Jimmy’ you cannot win.” Although the use of the word “Hunkers” hints that the broadside was presumably distributed in New York, it claims to have been printed at “Freedom’s Office, Fremont Peak, Rocky Mountains.” This alludes to Fremont’s earlier exploring expeditions in the American West.

Date Made: ca 1856

Referenced: Buchanan, JamesMaker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: World

Subject: LivestockPolitical PartiesPolitical CaricaturesDonkeysReferenced: Civil WarRelated Event: Civil War


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, American Civil War Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.2480Catalog Number: 60.2480Accession Number: 228146

Object Name: WoodcutObject Type: BroadsideWoodcut

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: image: 12 in x 8 in; 30.48 cm x 20.32 cm


Record Id: nmah_324803

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