Political Cartoons Analyzed

BY Angel L. and Nina S. 4B

Herblock (1909-2001)

A political cartoon artist and author whose real name was Herbert Lawrence Block but went by the name Herblock for his cartoons. He was known for his commentary on national domestic and foreign policy from a liberal perspective. He passed away on October 7, 2001 in Washington D.C.

"O, death! O, change! O, time!"

Illustrated by Herblock in 1937.


Subject:


  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (1882-1945)
  • Supreme Court Justices (1930-1940)
  • Politics & Government (1930-1940)



Context:


  • President Roosevelt is standing in front before his "court-change plan" and pondering over the changes that should be made to the Supreme Court, which is heavily weighted on his mind. It takes six months for both sides to object to the idea he has proposed.Any changes made would also result in political and government changes.



Techniques:


  • Symbolism
  • The "Court-change plan" and F.D.R: President Roosevelt standing in front of the "court-change plan" represents how King Arthur had with the sword in the stone.
  • Six winged calender pages and "six wasted months": Shows the time it took for the Democratic and Republican party to object to his idea of "Court-change plan".
  • "Those six extra justices" and six faceless Justices: ties in with his "court-change plan" for those who do not retire at age 70, would give him the power to add six more new justices. (This idea was rejected by both parties).

Meaning:

  • President Roosevelt is trying to increase the Supreme Court members from nine to fifteen. He proposed a plan, in Feb. 5, 1937,that if one did not retire at age 70 in the court he would gain the power to add six more judges to the court. This would alter the court that rejected New Deals, which would lead to changes not in the government but also political changes as well. It could be that the balance of power could be tipped to one party's side which would either Democratic or Republican.



"The Philanthropist"

Illustrated by Herblock on December 5, 1930.


Subject:


  • The Great Depression (1930)
  • Social classes (1930)
  • Philanthropy (1930)
  • Unemployment (1930)
  • Assistance (1930)
  • Apples (1930)



Context:


  • This political cartoon shows a rich man sitting on a wooden box and eating an apple. Around the rich man there are apple cores scattered around him while an unemployed man leaning against the pole on which a poster says "Help the unemployed- Apple 5 cents".


Techniques:


  • Symbolism
  • The rich man and the eaten apples: represents how the higher class should be assisting the lower class who are out of jobs.
  • The poor man and the "Help the unemployed- apple 5 cents": represents the down turn of the economy during the Great Depression. It also shows how many tried to live a life with little money by selling things on the street like apples.


Meaning:


  • The rich man in the cartoon is doing all he can to help the unemployed by purchasing and eating as many applies as he can. Which is simple message by Herblock saying to the audience to help the unemployed survive during the Great Depression.



"Animal Farm"

Illustrated by Herblock on April 2, 1961.


Subject:

-Swine (1960-1970)

-Social classes (1960-1970)

-Socialism (1960-1970)


Context:

  • The cartoon shows a pig smoking a cigar while holding a whip and a sign which says "Some are more equal than others" and sitting on a ballot box "1 rural area vote= 100 city votes" next to a small mailbox. The people who live in the city are peering through a chain-linked and barbed wire fence.


Techniques:

  • Symbolism
  • Chain-linked and barbed wire fence: Shows how the unequal people were given no rights to vote or freedom.
  • People on the other side of the fence: shows a segregation between the pig and the humans= colored blocked out from whites.
  • Voting-box: shows the "one man, one-vote" from the court ruling.

  • Analogy
  • Animal Farm: shows a situation like in the book "Animal Farm" how the pig ruled over others and held the most power. This time it is with people, instead of farm animals, who are peering through a chain-linked fence.


  • Irony
  • "Some are more equal than others" sign: represents the irony of how the founding fathers had once said "all men are equal", yet there is racism and unequal voting rights in the courts and government.


Meaning:

  • In 1960, many states failed to keep up with population shifts, which led to some rural districts with a small population to have greater representation compared to urban districts. There is inequality for many districts which led to misrepresentations and arguments for the courts.