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The early Congress was an occasionally volatile experiment in Democracy, as this somewhat crude 1798 cartoon demonstrates. On February 15 of that year, an insult uttered by Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut directed to Rep. Matthew Lyon of Vermont provoked a violent row on the floor of Congress Hall in Philadelphia. The Representatives' resort to…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1798

This political cartoon, published in Puck in June, 1896, depicts the U.S. as a handsome male hero saving a greatful female "Cuba" from the villainous male figure of "Spain."

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1896

During the revolutionary era, cheap prints depicting current events were in demand in both England and the colonies. This 1775 British print presented a scene in Edenton, North Carolina, where fifty-one women had signed a declaration in support of nonimportation, swearing not to drink tea or purchase British imports. Boycotts of British goods were…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1775

The beginning of U.S. expansion overseas, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, coincided with the peak years of racial violence and lynchings in the United States. Meanwhile, jingoists insisted that the United States should spread "civilization" to other peoples around the world. Anti-imperialists pointed out that ongoing racial injustices were…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1898

In 1898 the United States won the Spanish-Cuban-American war and took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. That same year, it also annexed the Hawaiian islands. This 1899 cartoon reflects the belief held by many anti-imperialists that this expansion of U.S. power did not fit the nation’s democratic ideals.

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1899

The Spanish-American War ended in December, 1898, when Spain surrendered to the U.S. and negotiated a peace treaty that sold Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the U.S. Cuba remained independent, but firmly under the influence of the United States. The Philippine Republic went to war against the U.S. to defend its independence. The brutal…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1902

Not long after his election in 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson moved to increase American involvement in Vietnam. This policy would soon result in the defacto American take-over of the effort against the North Vietnamese Communists. In the week this cartoon was published, the State Department announced that Johnson had authorized direct American military…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1965

This excerpt from Elizabeth Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars describes the economic relationships of working-class immigrant families at the turn of the century. The female head of the family played an important economic role, often being the recipient of pay envelopes from an entire family of workers, which may have included husbands…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1985

The first Chinese eateries in America sprang up in 1850s California and catered to Cantonese miners and railroad laborers. Known as "chow chows" (Chinese slang for anything edible), they were identified by yellow triangle signs. By the 1880s San Francisco's Chinatown community supported several upscale Chinese dining establishments. Reviews from…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1889

Albert Taylor Bledsoe, a professor at the University of Virginia, wrote this proslavery tract, Liberty and Slavery, in 1856. Bledsoe defended the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, justified slavery as compatible with the Bible, and argued for the right of secession. In the excerpt below, he refutes a speech by Charles Sumner, a…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1856