A Democratic Voter

A Democratic Voter

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Description (Brief)
This undated black and white print depicts an Irish immigrant wearing a large campaign ribbon, tails, and striped breeches standing in front of two adjacent, flag draped campaign booths. One booth is occupied by a member of the “Loco Foco Committee,” and the other by a member of the “Tammany Committee.” While both aligned with the Democratic Party, the “Loco Foco Committee” was formed by dissatisfied members of the “Tammany Committee,” and was therefore at odds with them. While at odds with each other, they both shared an interest in securing the Irish vote. In 1817 after much protest, Irish immigrants were allowed to become members of the “Tammany Committee,” and quickly became members of the large political machine operated by the committee. Irish votes were bought through gifts of food, coal, and other necessary supplies by Tammany political bosses, and were relied upon to secure Democratic victories in both the city of New York and nationally. The 1835, “Loco Foco” was split from “Tammany” and that presented a problem to the immigrant voter, because they were two faces of the same party. The immigrant voter identifies himself as “a hindependent helector, I means to gove my Wote according to conscious and him as Tips most!” showing the Democratic Party as corrupt and subject to bribery. This print is by Henry R. Robinson, a Whig artist, so it most likely functioned as a means of discrediting the Democratic Party prior to the election of 1836.
The publisher of this print is Henry R. Robinson (1827-1877). Robinson worked in New York, and had a store to sell his prints. In 1842, he was arrested for selling obscene pictures and books leading to the September 28, 1842 court case, People vs H. R. Robinson found in the District Attorney Indictment Papers, Municipal Archives. He was politically affiliated with the anti-Jackson Whig party that was made obvious by the wig silhouette used in 1838 as an advertising logo for his shop.
Napoleon Sarony (1821–1896), the graphic artist and lithographer, was born in Quebec and trained under several lithography firms including Currier & Ives and H.R. Robinson. Sarony was also known for his successful experiments in early photography, eventually developing a cabinet-sized camera. In 1846, Sarony collaborated with another former apprentice of Nathaniel Currier, Henry B. Major and created Sarony & Major Lithography firm. Joseph F. Knapp joined the firm in 1857. Sarony, Major & Knapp earned a solid reputation for lithography and the company was especially known for its fine art chromolithography. Unfortunately, by the 1870s, the firm shifted focus to the more profitable area of advertising. It also expanded to become the conglomerate known as the American Lithographic Company, successfully producing calendars, advertising cards and posters. In 1930, Consolidated Graphics bought them out.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
ca. 1836
Robinson, Henry R.
Sarony, Napoleon
place made
United States: New York, New York City
image: 10 3/4 in x 7 1/4 in; 27.305 cm x 18.415 cm
ID Number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Municipal Government
Patriotism and Patriotic Symbols
Political Parties
Political Caricatures
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Political Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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