Political Cartoon Analysis Project

By: Grayson Lakers and Tyler Kirkland

American Experience- AP English 4A

"Remember -- don't vote for anyone who would interfere with the way we've been handling things"

Date of Publication: October 30, 1974

Subject: This political cartoon is about President Gerald Ford. In the cartoon President Ford is holding the reigns of two horses, Inflation and Recession, which shows that he believes he is in control of them. The horses are obviously out of his control and he is barely hanging on, which shows that the author of the cartoon believes that President Ford is not handling the situation in our country very well.

Context: On October 15, 1974 President Ford addressed the country on TV and explained to them a new policy that was to handle the inflation of the country called Whip Inflation Now, or WIN. The country was no doubt in a state of recession and extreme inflation, but President Ford continued to push for his policies and denied the obvious truths.

Cartoonists' Persuasive Techniques:

Symbolism- The author plays on the name of the policy by using whips and horses as the image. The whips symbolize Ford's control of the growing inflation and recession. Also, the horses obviously symbolize those two things, inflation and recession.

Exaggeration- There is extreme exaggeration by making Ford seem completely out of control of the country and the author makes the viewer believe that Ford has no control of the future of the country.

Labeling- The author clearly labels the horses, inflation and recession, and also labels their rider, President Ford to make the subject of his image more obvious.

Analogy- This cartoon makes the analogy between a horse and his rider to the President and the country's problems/solutions.

Irony- The most ironic situation in this cartoon is that of the whips. This is ironic because the policy that President Ford put in place is called "Whip Inflation Now", a clear verbal irony.

Purpose of Cartoon: The main purpose of this cartoon is to make fun of President Ford's antics. The author of the cartoon believes that Ford has no control over the current situation in the United States and that he is ignoring the main problem and instead focusing on gaining a political advantage by putting other leaders in place that support his policies.


The Other Ascent Into The Unknown

Date of Publication: June 10, 1965

Subject: The main topic of this cartoon is an American soldier heading into Vietnam and it portrays that the soldier cannot see what he is getting into because of a fog covering.

Context: At this moment in history, President Lyndon Johnson has started to further American involvement in Indochina while also stating that his rivaling candidate was not to be trusted because he would do exactly what Johnson did anyways. Also, American space travel has taken a huge step when Gemini 4, a space capsule, set new records for 2-man space travel.

Cartoonists' Persuasive Techniques:

Symbolism- The fog covering symbolizes the unknown that America is facing with regards to involvement in Vietnam. Also, the staircase symbolizes each step America, symbolized by the single soldier, is taking towards Vietnam

Labeling- The author clearly labels the staircase as Vietnam to show that America is coming closer and closer to getting involved in Vietnam.

Analogy- The author compares the fog covering that the soldier is walking into to the unknown life of space and space travel.

Irony- It is ironic that Johnson condemns his rival candidate, Barry Goldwater, for wanting to pursue involvement in Vietnam, when just a short while later he is advocating and putting in policies that further American influence in the area.

Purpose of Cartoon: The purpose of the cartoon is to show that America has no idea what they are getting themselves into with regards to Vietnam interference. The author makes the comparison between space and Vietnam because most of the public has no idea what space is about at this time. Clearly the author of this cartoon is urging for America to stay out of Vietnam affairs.

"Our position hasn't changed at all"

Date of Publication: June 17, 1965

Subject: The topic of this political cartoon is the American presence in Vietnam. The government, led by President Johnson is saying that nothing has changed in regards to policies for Vietnam.

Context: At the moment, the State Department issued a statement that said that American involvement in Vietnam could result in a direct combat role. Also, the Defense Department has issued that even more troops be sent to Vietnam including 8,000 more combat troops. All the while, President Lyndon Johnson and the Senate continue to say that no new policies have been enforced and that everything is the status quo.

Cartoonists' Persuasive Techniques:

Symbolism- In this cartoon the escalator represents the steps that the government is making in regards to Vietnam. The taller man represents a government official, quite possibly President Johnson. The shorter man is more likely to be just another official, or could be a member of the media or general public that is trying to understand the government's decisions.

Exaggeration- The little marks in the background are an attempt to create the effect that the escalator, or government decisions that are leading to more involvement in Vietnam, is moving at an absurd rate.

Labeling- The author clearly labels the escalator as the "Vietnam Escalator" to illustrate effectively and without a question that the escalator is American actions that are putting America closer to combat with Vietnam.

Analogy- The picture shows the one man telling the other that they haven't moved on the escalator, which actually represents the government telling the citizens of America that Vietnam policies haven't changed either.

Irony- What is most ironic about this cartoon is that the people in the picture, or government officials, claim to not be getting any closer towards Vietnam even though the escalator, steps towards Vietnam action, is clearly moving.

Purpose of Cartoon: The main point that the author wishes to portray is that the government, especially President Johnson, is not being honest with its' citizens. Clearly some changes are being made and the author of this cartoon wants to make U.S. citizens aware of the facts and not believe everything that the government is telling them.