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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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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 [...]

"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.

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 [...]

Black "Exodusters" Explain their Reasons for Leaving the South

Beginning in the mid-1870s, as Northern support for Radical Reconstruction retreated, thousands of African Americans chose to leave the South in the hope of finding equality on the western frontier. Taking their cue from the Book of Exodus in the [...]

The President of the B&O Railroad Announces Wage Cuts

After the Panic of 1873 plunged the U.S. economy into a severe and lasting depression, corporations such as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company found themselves cutting costs, usually by reducing employees' wages, as this letter from the [...]

A Company Town Faces Starvation during the Pullman Strike

George Pullman, owner of the Pullman Palace Car Company, exemplified the paternalistic "welfare capitalist." Believing that labor unrest was caused by poor pay and living conditions, he initially paid his workers high wages and housed them in a [...]

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