“Democracy,” designed and executed by one who has neither place nor pension.

Attributed to William Charles (1776-1820), Democracy against the Unnatural Union. Trial Octr. 14t 1817. Designed and executed by one who has neither place nor pension, 1817. Etching. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2017- in process

Two hundred years ago, candidate William Findlay (1768-1846) and Joseph Hiester (1752-1832) ran against each other for the Democratic-Republican (later called Jacksonian) nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania. Findlay won the nomination and the Governorship in 1817 but Hiester won when they ran again in 1820.

This satirical print is on Findlay’s side, who floats up to the governor’s chair while commenting “How easy do I [ascend].” Hiester stands on a shaky foundation at the right, labeled “federalism” and “old schoolism.” Below are bundles of the U.S. Gazette and Aurora newspapers. The paper Hiester has in his hand says “Serious Reflections.” One member of the crowd says, “I am thinking to myself how foolish we shall look if we do not Succeed.”

Scottish-born William Charles did have a place. He set up a printshop on South 3rd Street in Philadelphia. This is a view by William Birch around 1800 across the street:

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. (1800). South East corner of Third, and Market Streets. Philadelphia. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7e61-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99