Support provided by:
More from Tukufu on the history of political cartoons.
Political cartoons have been a staple of American history as long as there’s been political dissent -- a very long time.
Benjamin Franklin’s 1753 “Join or Die” showed how an artist can distill a complex political issue into to a single, potent image.
A severed snake represents the original colonies, which, unless joined together are sure to perish.
Franklin’s cartoon helped create a sense of American nationhood, and ultimately fuelled the fight for independence.
Political cartoonists gained currency during the Civil War, when artist Thomas Nast created some of the most instantly recognizable images in U.S. politics, including Uncle Sam, the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.
Today, political cartoons remain a staple of newspapers’ editorial pages.
Yet their influence has shrunk.
They compete with TV and the Internet as a news source.
Advertisers and publishers exert more of an influence over the news of the day, even on occasion dropping controversial cartoonists from their pages.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the popular comic strip “Boondocks” was yanked from several newspapers when it suggested that Reagan administration policies gave birth to the Al Qaada terrorist group.
It’s unlikely that the political cartoon will disappear anytime soon, but the heyday of the American political cartoon may be over.
- Submit your StoryDo you have an object that may have played a starring role in American history? Let the History Detectives solve your mystery!
- Latest CommentIt turns out that this collage was sold last fall: http://www.worthpoint.com/wort... I wonder if it would be possible to contact the buyer by way of the auction house about getting a print made. (6 months ago)
- Twitterremember this investigation with @TukufuZuberi @elyseluray Tonight they reunite! Let us know your thoughts! @PBS http://t.co/4KMnc27K (1 year ago)
- FacebookCongrats on your exhibit, TZ! Here's a Washington Post article about the exhibit, everyone, and the great story TZ and Elyse did on his "Our Colored Heroes" story. http://tinyurl.com/mzpuyo8 http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/our-colored-heroes/ (6 months ago)