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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Theme > Immigration and Migration (x)

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A Figure of Justice Protects the Chinese Immigrant

In this political cartoon from Harper's Weekly magazine, illustrator Thomas Nast portrays the figure of Columbia, a symbol of American democracy, comforting and protecting a Chinese man from a working-class immigrant mob. Nast likely created the [...]

A Cartoonist Depicts "The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things"

A bestial Irishman, his anger inflamed by pro-Irish political broadsides and "demon rum," represents a veritable powder keg of potential violence in this 1871 Thomas Nast cartoon. The ape-like features are typical of the depictions of the Irish used [...]

The Day We Celebrate

This cartoon by Thomas Nast depicts a riot that took place on March 17, 1867 in New York City between Irish immigrants and the Metropoliton Police. Just two years after the New York City draft riots, violence related to politics remained a feature [...]

The Irish Remain "The One Element That Won't Mix"

This political cartoon from 1880 depicts the Irish as "the one element that won't mix" in America's melting pot of immigrants. Clutching a green flag and dagger, the Irishman is characterized as a violent proponent of Irish nationalism. His sash [...]

"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 [...]

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