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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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"Southern 'Volunteers'"

This Civil War-era lithograph, circulated in the North, lampoons the idea that the Confederate Army was composed of southern "volunteers." A conscript is compelled by force to fight for "King Cotton," despite his protests that he is a "Union man." [...]

Uncle Sam Teaches a Class In "Self-Government"

In this political cartoon from shortly after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898, "Uncle Sam" disciplines a class of unruly "children," representing Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. The mustachioed figure reading the [...]

Uncle Sam Finds "Something Lacking" In New Possessions

The outcome of the Spanish-American War had far-reaching consequences for several of Spain's former colonies. The United States annexed Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam, while Cuba became independent but subject to American influence. This [...]

"The Inevitable Result to the American Workingman of Unrestricted Immigration"

This cartoon, published in the weekly humor magazine Judge around 1890, presents a vision of what large numbers of poor immigrants, willing to work for low wages, might do to American workers and their families. 

"The Immigrant"

This 1903 cartoon presents the different perspectives that Americans had about the large number of immigrants entering the U.S. at the beginning of the twentieth century. It appeared in Judge magazine, which used humorous illustrations and short [...]

A Puck Cartoon Ridicules the Irish Domestic Servant

An 1888 Puck cartoon pokes fun at an Irish domestic servant, a frequent target of cartoonists and other humorists in the late 19th century. Such depictions, which ranged from relatively harmless "numbskull" humor to more mean-spirited and [...]

Cartoons Offer Two Perspectives on the Neighborhood Saloon

Death and dissolution are the predicted outcome in this 1874 Harper's Weekly cartoon as a grinning death's head dispenses "the demon rum" while patrons brawl in the back room and horrified innocents look on. While alcoholism posed a serious health [...]

The Chinese Immigrant is Squeezed by Both Parties

In this political cartoon, the leaders of both political parties, James Garfield of the Republicans and Winfield S. Hancock of the Democrats, squeeze the innocent Chinese immigrant between their political platforms. Because Chinese immigrants and [...]

The Wasp Serves Up Anti-Chinese Prejudice

This cartoon, published in The Wasp in 1885, asked "Is It Right for a Chinaman to Jeopard a White Man's Dinner?" The Wasp was a weekly magazine of politics and satire with lavish color illustrations. It was among the most widely read magazines on [...]

B is for Beef Trust in "Children's" Primer

This 1902 cartoon by Frederick Opper was part of a larger series of cartoons attacking corporate trusts drawn for William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. In the cartoon, which mimicks the childrens' spelling primers popular at the turn of the [...]

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