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"The Whale that Swallowed Jonah," 1844

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This 1844 political cartoon shows conflict within the Whig party over the issue of the National Bank.
Courtesy of Library of Congress, Baillie, James S. and Edward Williams Clay, "The Whale that Swallowed Jonah," 1844


This political cartoon was published in 1844 and showed conflict within the Whig Party over the issue of a National Bank. Daniel Webster and friends are shown throwing the Whig presidential candidate, Henry Clay, overboard. Webster says "It is better to lose the whole party rather than keep Clay who favored a National Bank." The whale represents the National Bank.

Transcript of "The Whale that Swallowed Jonah" Political Cartoon

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Describe this image using at least five adjectives. What do you think the artist is trying to get you to see?
  • Compare this cartoon with the "Whig Harmony" political cartoon. The Whig Party disintegrated by the 1850s. What common economic issues pointed out by political cartoonists helped lead to the demise of the party?
  • The conflict over the National Bank was, at its heart, a fight about how to maintain a stable economy for the country. The fight wasn't just between parties, but also within parties. What research question(s) could you use to investigate the conflict and its consequences for the Whigs?

Citation Information

Baillie, James S. and Edward Williams Clay, "The Whale that Swallowed Jonah," 1844. Courtesy of Library of Congress