Marriage of the Free Soil and Liberty Parties.
Original Author: Nathaniel Currier
Created: ca. 1848
Medium: Lithograph

Marriage of the Free Soil and Liberty Parties.

A political cartoon pokes fun at the alliance forged between the Free Soil Democrats and the abolitionist Liberty Party during the presidential election of 1848. Benjamin F. Butler (identified beneath the image as "B.F.B.") officiates at a ceremony in which his ally, the presidential candidate Martin Van Buren ("Matty"), marries an African American woman, presumably a slave. The barefoot bride stretches her arms out to Van Buren and says, "Come here, my flower … I want to get acquainted wid you." The reluctant groom is urged on by the antislavery New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley: "Go, Matty, and kiss the bride[.] That is an indispensable part of the ceremony." Van Buren's son John ("John Van Barnburner") views the scene through a looking glass from the far left and advises his father, "Walk up, dad. You can hold your breath till the ceremony is over; and after that you can do what you please." The senior Van Buren admits that "politics, as well as poverty, make one acquainted with strange bedfellows."

Martin Van Buren lost in the general election to the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor.