Project Example

Big picture

Smore Page/ Guidlines

Smore page should contain all of the following:

Questions and answers
Links to any created content.
Names of people in group
2 open ended questions for discussion

Grading rubric

All Questions Answered


Smore Page




Presentation (2-4 mins)


What is the message being displayed in the political cartoon?

This cartoon has an implicitly racist message in its mocking characterization of the Chinese. The message being said here is essentially that Chinese civilization needs to be "modernized" with the "progress " of 18th century civilization. Modern civilization here is characterized as superior with its railroads and technology displayed subtly in the background on the character representing civilization.

What vocabulary words can you connect to this image? Explain the reason for your choice

You can connect the words White mans burden and Anglo-Saxonism to this image because the image is clearly displaying a sense of the "superiority" of whites over other nations. Its negative characterization of chinese as being backwards and uncivilized only further reinforces the erroneous notion that whites held superior thoughts, beliefs and technologically advanced ways of living over the "backwards" lives of other cultures.

What kind of arguments did the US use to justify its global imperialism/expansion during the 19th and early 20th centuries?

US attitudes towards other countries and peoples was used to justify the expansion of the American nation state in the 19th and 20th centuries. We can see this throughout the various cases of literature, cartoons, imagery and news articles that glorified US expansion and pacification of natives who were "in need" of being saved.

Do we still hear similar arguments used today? How do the arguments used today differ?

Absolutely. These arguments have only been re-imagined and tamed down a bit but they are still essentially the same. They differ because these cartoons would cause outrage today among mainstream American society and would be universally condemned. However there is still similar arguments being used to invade countries and occupy them around the world. We see this today in the middle east where groups are backed by the US because they are "in need" of being saved and protected by other "evil" or "malignant" characters.

Is this document important in understanding US history? Why or why not?

Yes, it is important we understand our racist past and learn how these ideas were developed and used to justify all sorts of atrocities across the globe. It is vital we learn from our past, because if we don't we are bound to repeat the same mistakes continually.

2 Questions you have about the cartoon

Is this negative depiction about the Chinese unique to this time period?

How did images like these influence American perceptions of foreign nations and our role in the world?


Creation can be a video, poster, poem, etc.

The creation should tell what is going on in the image and the vocabulary you are connecting to the image. The vocabulary can be found in your notes. Creations should be school appropriate. Inappropriate material will result in an automatic failure.