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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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"Showing the Light to the Filipinos"

From 1898 to 1902, the United States waged a bloody war in the Philippines. Filipinos wanted independence from centuries of Spanish colonial rule. U.S. leaders, however, saw the opportunity to control the Philippines and gain access to markets in [...]

The White(?) Man's Burden

This cartoon, published in March of 1899 in Life magazine, depicts the figures of Uncle Sam, John Bull and Kaiser Wilhelm as three heavy burdens being borne on the backs of non-white people, who are stooped over under their weight.

A Republican "Scarecrow" Fails to Staunch Southern Violence

Throughout Reconstruction, some armed whites terrorized African Americans who attempted to use their new rights to vote and control their own labor. The federal government investigated this widespread violence, and in 1870-1871 passed laws designed [...]

"Chopping Block"

This political cartoon by Tom Darcy portrays the divisive impact of the Vietnam war on American society. According to public opinion polls taken in May 1970, when this cartoon was published, 64% of Americans thought the U.S. had made a mistake [...]

Item Type: Cartoon
An American Railway Union Strike Halts Cross-Country Trade

In 1894, the American Railway Union organized a national boycott and strike against all trains hauling Pullman Cars in response to a strike called by workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company. The strike spread across the nation. Strikers were met [...]

"The Tournament of Today - A Set-to Between Labor and Monopoly"

This 1883 cartoon from the satirical magazine Puck imagines a medieval-style joust between working people and the industrialists and railroad owners who largely controlled the U.S. economy in the late nineteenth century. The spectators in the [...]

"Tee Hee" Boys: Born with a Vote and a Partial Sense of the Ridiculous

This ink and crayon drawing by John Sloan depicts a crowd of men and boys jeering at a passing parade of Suffragettes, the name given to women who were then agitating for women to be given the vote. Originally published in 1912 in Collier's Magazine [...]

An Angry Citizen Urges FDR to Help "Real Americans"

In this letter to President Roosevelt, the writer provides his own definition of a "real American." His frustration regarding inadequate government relief is expressed alongside racist, anti-semitic, and nativist sentiments. The letter is signed [...]

A Citizen Claims the New Deal is a Path Towards Socialism

This 1934 letter to Senator Robert F. Wagner protests President Roosevelt's New Deal policies. The writer argues for stimulating private business to create employment, and against increasing the role of the federal government. Since the 19th [...]

A Worker Warns Eleanor Roosevelt of Growing Class Unrest

As the Great Depression dragged on through the 1930s, critics on the left blamed the Roosevelt Administration for not going far enough. They maintained that New Deal measures had mostly shored up banks and industries without sufficiently providing [...]

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