This 1833 black and white caricature of Andrew Jackson and his “Kitchen Cabinet” of personal advisors captures the administration’s decision to remove money from the Second National Bank and move it to local banks supportive of Jackson. In this image two of Jackson’s most trusted advisors, Amos Kendall and William T. Barry sit at a table with Major Jack Downing, while Secretary of the Treasury, Roger Brooke Taney lies on the floor in front of a fire in a fireplace. Major Jack Downing is a fictional character created by journalist Seba Smith, and the allegorical persona of Downing symbolized the common man. His depiction in this cartoon symbolizes Jackson’s commitment to the common man, but also that he himself was one since he values and seeks Downing’s input on what to do in the situation. As Downing prepares to read the pro-Jackson “Globe” newspaper in front of him, the “Bank Beef” burns on the hearth in the background. The cartoon places some of the blame for the destruction of the bank on Vice President Martin Van Buren, who is seen peeking through the curtains in the background, but actually, it was a collective effort that brought down the bank.
The lithographer of this print is Ezra Bisbee (1820-1856). Bisbee was a political cartoonist and print maker based in New York City and Brooklyn as well as on the island of Antigua.
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