[JACKSON, Andrew (1767-1845)]. Broadside, attributed to CLAY, Edward Williams (1799-1857). King Andrew the First, [n.p., n.d., ca. 1834]. 1 page (27 7/8 x 12 in.), folded at center, 3/4-inch hole along left edge; slight staining along lower left; chipping along bottom edge.
"SHALL HE REIGN OVER US, OR SHALL THE PEOPLE RULE?"
An exceptionally rare, iconic image created by the anti-Jacksonian opposition that emerged in the early 1830s, and eventually coalesced into the Whig Party. It shows Jackson in coronation robes standing before a throne, holding a scepter in his right hand and a scroll marked "Veto" in his left. His buckled shoes tread upon "The Constitution of the United States" and the Pennsylvania state seal. A torn fragment of a document lies upon the carpet titled "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence Internal Improvements U.S. Bank." Nearby is a discarded volume, Judiciary of the United States.
The imagery and language is a succinct and cutting catalogue of everything Jackson's opponents hated about him, especially his hostility towards the Bank of the United States and his flouting of Supreme Court rulings. He was "a KING who has placed himself above the laws, as he has shown by his contempt of our judges. A KING who would destroy our currency, and susbstitute Old Rags payable by no one knows who, and no one knows where, instead of good Silver Dollars. A KING born to command, as he has shown himself by appointing men to office contrary to the will of the People. A KING who, while he was feeding his favourites out of the public money, denied a pittance to the Old Soldiers who fought and bled for our independence. A KING whose Prime Minister and Heir Apparent [i.e., Martin Van Buren], was thought unfit for the office of ambassador by the people: Shall he reign over us, or shall the PEOPLE RULE?"
Jackson vetoed the renewal of the Bank's charter in July 1832 then withdrew the government's funds in 1833. To further weaken the Bank he ordered it to stop making pension payments to Revolutionary War veterans and to shift that responsibility to the War Department (this episode helps date the piece to early 1834). When Biddle refused to transfer the pensioners documentation to the War Department, Jackson suspended the payments (the "pittance" paid to the "Old Soldiers"). In 1832 the president defied Chief Justice Marshall when the Supreme Court declared the administration's removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia to be unconstitutional. These actions all galvanized Jackson's opponents into an organized opposition, the Whig Party, which emerged in 1834. No copy is recorded in auction records for the last 30 years. We are able to locate only one other complete copy, at The Tennessee State Library and Archives. A.A.S. and The Library of Congress each own a partial copy (top image, but lacking text below). RARE.