Bias and Point of View
Activity #1: What is Bias?
Activity #2: What is liberal and conservative?
Activity #3: Interpreting Political Cartoons
This cartoon on the drive for women’s suffrage appeared along with an article in the magazine Judge, March 3, 1917. The cartoon shows four women backing the drive for female suffrage riding on a steamroller crushing rocks labeled "opposition."
By March of 1917, an energized women’s suffrage movement was in the last stages of its push to win the right to vote for all women in the United States. Women began winning voting rights in some western states in the late 1800s. The reform movement known as “Progressivism” further boosted the drive for female suffrage in the early 1900s. The effective roles women played during World War I may have finally pushed President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 to agree to back a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. The 19th amendment was passed in 1919 and sent to
the states. The states ratified it in 1920.
1) What is this cartoon about? (One sentence summary)
2) What elements in the cartoon can be called symbols? What do they each symbolize?
3) Notice how the three women are drawn. Are they also symbols?
4) Would this cartoon be considered liberal or conservative in it's time?
5) How might an opponent of this cartoon's point of view have altered the symbols?
The Library of Congress records no exact date or location for this cartoon on child labor by artist Herbert Johnson. It is a part of a collection attributed to photographer Lewis Hine. Based on photos near it, it is dated to approximately 1912.
Child labor existed throughout American history. As the nation industrialized, child labor moved from the farm to the factory. Children were seen as cheaper and easy to control. They were hired in large numbers to work in mines and factories, often in extremely unhealthy and dangerous conditions. In the early 1900s, labor unions and other national reform organizations began to seek legislation regulating or limiting child labor and promoting free, compulsory education as a substitute.
1) What big problem is this cartoon concerned with? (one sentence summary of the main points)
2) What are the key symbols in the cartoon and how are they distorted?
3) How do these distortions help the cartoon make its point?
4) What else besides a hand might the cartoonist have used to make a point on this topic?
This cartoon on the evils of political patronage is by one of America’s most famous cartoonists, Thomas Nast. It appeared in Harper's Weekly, April 28, 1877.
This cartoon shows a statue of Andrew Jackson on pig. The statue is titled “To the Victors Belong the Spoils,” a phrase used to explain why election winners were entitled to hand out government jobs (patronage) to their loyal followers. Jackson was president from 1829-1837. However, Thomas Nast drew the cartoon in 1877, when he was battling machine politicians in New York City who in his view had proved how corrupt the patronage principle “to the victors belong the spoils” really was.
2) In what ways does this image of a statue remind you of monuments dedicated to great or historic figures?
3) Use your background knowledge, explain the term "To the Victors Belong the Spoils" in your own words?
4) What symbols in this cartoon go against the idea that this statue is meant to be heroic or admirable?