1834 Letters of J. Downing to His Old Friend, Mr. Dwight - First Edition
Satirist Seba Smith was the mastermind behind the character 'Jack Downing'. Downing first appeared in 1830 when Smith was editor of the Portland Courier newspaper in Portland, Maine. As a young man, Downing (a fictitious character) ran away from his rural family farm in Maine and headed to the state capital with an idea of entering politics and making his fortune. Downing was portrayed as naive and ambitious young man who was a satirical portrait of the 1830 idea of a 'self-reliant' person. The early 1830's was the beginning of partisan politics in America and Smith' character was representative of rural America that thought the growth of nationalism and partisanship was going to ruin the country. The tenor of his satires featuring Downing was tempered by the use of poor spelling, semi-literate writings with rural metaphors used throughout his stories.
This continued until the partisanship got worse with the election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency when Jack went to Washington DC, received an officer's commission from the new President, and (without any specialist knowledge or training) sent the newly commissioned 'Major' Jack Downing to solve political disputes with South Carolina and the country of Canada. This first edition of the 1834 satire is quite amazing in its content and stories of what the author considered an ill-advised and terrible administration under Andrew Jackson.
After the 1834 book was written, Smith stopped writing as Jack Downing but his form of political satire caught on and gave voice to those opposed to Jackson's form of governing with fans from what was to become 'both sides of the aisle'. There were many imitations by other authors including the author of 'Sam Slick'. Suddenly, Jack Downing became a national hero and spoke to those who didn't like the partisanship in the federal government and was regaled as a true American hero along side Yankee Doodle and Brother Jonathan. As the 1800s progressed, Jack would reappear in 1847 with the Spanish-American War and then during the Civil War.
This is the first book of the Jack Downing series and is a definite must-have for ay political junkie.
An amazing and breath-taking book that will be difficult to put down.
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