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NDH-This cartoon, created in 1914 by John F. M., demonstrates America's universal big-headedness perfectly- America believing through and through that winning the war against Spain was a great thing for everyone, and also it's annexation of Hawaii and the invasion of Panama.
The Philippines were demonstrated as the most oppressed of all, being that America was still at ends them. This would have been used in 1914 to make Americas potential war with the Philippines look like a good thing, even if it wasn't. Americans didn't want another war, so by demonstrating that the Philippines were against America because of Spain, Americans would see that potential war would be over freedom, and they would be okay wi it. Hawaii, the other major controversy in America, is shown as the second biggest problem. With industrial Americans controlling all the people, it was viewed that annexation would bring freedom. Cuba and Puerto Rico, both already being free, were shown with smaller burdens on their backs. Panama, being quite free already, was also shown with a small burden, but not as small as Cuba and Puerto Rico.
All of these countries/territories were saved by America for reasons other than freedom, buy freedom prevailed in American propaganda because Americans would always agree with freedom. Not all Americans would agree with acquiring Cuban and Hawaiian sugar, Philippine naval bases, a new canal, or more states. Yellow journalists used cartoons like this one to keep Americans from arguing with the government by hiding the truth, and they were quite effective, since no one ever did.

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LM - The above political cartoon, published in the Philadelphia Inquirer at the advent of the 20th century, illustrates the strong role the American military played in supporting certain foreign, uncivilized cultures. It was the belief of many that untamed and unmodernized nations could be led from their inept misery by the hands of a modern power: in this case, America. The military was America's primary means of forcing the unwilling inhabitants of uncivilized countries to relinquish their squalor and become more significant entities. America excused its military intervention in these countries by heralding this intervention as merely a benevolent and selfless correction of the self imposed wrongs the third world was burdened with.
Supporting up savage looking babies holding American flags, the gaudy and towering Uncle Sam grasps two of these dirty infants in his hands; the specific manner in which he is portrayed serves to illuminate two pieces of American Imperialism. First, as he seems proud and flashy (smiling, wearing a starry tight suit), he portrays how America used its colonies overseas for self-glamorization and touted its foreign assets. Second, his rippled features and perfect posture emphasize that America - specifically its military - was strong enough to be self-supporting and effective in pursing its righteous interests. Uncle Sam supports five figures, grasping two who hold an American flag emblazoned with Philippines and Ladrone I (now called the Mariana Islands); these ungroomed infants represent the American view that such nations of squalor were being benevolently lifted into the modern era by American military intervention. Atop Uncle Sam's shoulders rest the less complacent figures of Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Cuba. During the American imperialist rush, these nations proved more tenable, as their populations were slightly more welcoming to US presence (or, at least they proved to become so sooner than the Philippines or the Ladrone Isles); hence, although still dark and uncouth, the figures of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Cuba appear more upright, strong, and satisfied (each is smiling). These three figures also wear American striped shorts, symbolizing their submission (or at least partial adherence) to American military presence. The crowd below (filled with depictions of the Russians, Germans, English, and other imperialists) looks up to the strong and erect figure of the American Army and Navy. The quote at the bottom reveals how America viewed itself as a "trainer" of peoples, and at that a successful one. Saying, "Why, only the other day, I though that man unable to support himself", this cartoon reveals the incredulity of the rest of the imperial world. "That Man" is America (symbolically Uncle Sam); referring to self support, the observer is commenting on how it seemed as though America was barely able to be self-sufficient, let alone sufficiently supporting of other lands and peoples. America also believe their practice of supporting certain inferior nations was their moral burden; hence why this cartoon is captioned "Holding up his end", where America's end of the global table is these five nations.
RIL:
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Puck Magazine published this cartoon by Louis Glackens in January of 1912. Puck Magazine was a popular satirical magazine which often criticized the government and America in general, as was the case with this cartoon. This cartoon was published January 3, 1912, years after the Chinese Exclusion Act and also years after Russia began to deny Jewish American immigrants. Since the Chinese Exclusion Act was farther in the past, the cartoon implied that the Chinese Exclusion Act was in some ways considered a shame and that because of it; protest against Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans was hypocritical. Since time had passed, opinions about the Chinese Exclusion Act had changed. The cartoon addressed discrimination based on race or religion since it likens the two and portrayed both of them negatively. To understand the cartoon, readers needed to have known of the Chinese Exclusion Act as it was referenced in comparison to the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans. Readers would also have needed to be aware of the figure of speech, a skeleton in the closet to understand that the Chinese Exclusion Act was something America, shown by Uncle Sam, was not proud of. The Chinese Exclusion Act denied immigrants from China, much like how the Russia denied Jewish American immigrants. For this reason, protesting the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans was hypocritical. Uncle Sam is present in this cartoon and he was recognized as representing America, the skeleton labeled American Exclusion of Chinese represents the Chinese Exclusion Act from the past, and the sheet of paper represents what it is labeled as, protest against Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans. Also, the skeleton’s clothes and hair were drawn to look as the Chinese had been portrayed in political cartoons of the past. The material was created to call out those in protest to show them their hypocrisy which was why the expressions and the skeleton are dramatized. Protesters would have noticed this cartoon since it spoke nearly directly to them and it could have made them realize how hypocritical they were being. The political cartoon could have offended them since they are not portrayed positively. This cartoon was produced to show the protesters their faults because at the time, they were protesting against the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans. The cartoon addressed the fact that the protesters should have been aware of America’s past and that they were being hypocritical. This cartoon argues that those who protested the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans were hypocrites since America had excluded Chinese immigrants in the past and that America needed to confront this hypocrisy even though Americans may be too afraid or ashamed to do so; hence, Uncle Sam looked frightened and the Chinese skeleton looked angry. It also portrayed that being a hypocrite was wrong. This material was important since it addressed America’s hypocrisy and it implied that it was wrong for America to protest the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans while it had excluded the Chinese in the past. This material could have prompted an apology towards the Chinese for the Chinese Exclusion Act, or it could have stopped protest regarding the Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans, or it could have simply made American realize their hypocrisy.
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J.R.C.- Cartoonist Grant Hamilton created this political cartoon titled “The Filipino’s First Bath”. Grant Hamilton drew for the magazine Judge that was formed by artists who had seceded from the highly acclaimed Puck Magazine. Judge produced material based mainly off of the issues present during the times and in this material, Hamilton focuses on the Imperialist view of America. This material was published on June 10, 1899, during the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Due to the acquisition of Puerto Rico and the Philippine islands after the Spanish-American war, a certain perspective of natives of these islands was given to be unclean and uncivilized, which is ultimately portrayed in this material. Audiences originally encountered this material in Judge magazine, published on June 10, 1899. This material addresses America’s pompous attitude towards the supposed “uncivilized” natives of foreign lands. Besides the information given about the producer of this material and the context in which it was created, an understanding of the idea that President McKinley – the man depicted in this image – was the founding father of the idea of the uncivilized nature of the people of the Philippines. History truly repeats itself and one can find truth in that statement by comparing this situation of supposed dominancy to that of the arrogant treatment of the Native Americans by the British upon entering America. If one were to look closely, they would notice the words “civilization” in the water of which the baby is being washed, basically representing the idea that America is cleansing the savages with civilization, “Cuba” on the back of the left boy’s jacket, symbolizing the country, and “Philippines” on the back of the boy on the right’s pants, also symbolizing the respective country. In addition to these symbols, the boys in the back seem to be of lighter skin color than that of the baby in the foreground of the cartoon, portraying the idea that they have already been “cleansed.” This material was created for imperialistic Americans, displaying the true credibility of its message, which was actually fairly strong. Clearly, those much more peaceful would find this imperialist ridden cartoon offensive, acting as a differing perspective on the material. This material was produced at the time it was, due to the fact that during the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, America gained the Philippines and Puerto Rico, both of which were viewed to be savage in nature in comparison to America. Despite its highly imperialistic views, this material does not contain any messages about how one should view life. This material is trying to convey the idea that it is America’s duty to cleanse the savage natives of other countries in a pool of theoretic civilization. This material is important mainly because of its depiction of the American view on foreigners.
newspaper cartoon interpreting “The White Man’s Burden”
newspaper cartoon interpreting “The White Man’s Burden”

SW -
Although the creator of "The White Man’s Burden" political cartoon is unknown, the cartoon interprets the poem written by Rudyard Kipling. The cartoon was published in The Journal in Detroit, Michigan. It was produced in 1898 when was becoming a world power. At the turn of the century the United States was becoming imperialistic and the cartoon was made in response to that cause. During this time America felt that it was the best nation in the world. They had quickly grown from a colony into a world power. Now they were able to take over other nations. In the cartoon there is a white man who represents America and the black man who represents another nation. This man is dressed like a savage and seems unwilling to go to the school. The school symbolizes civilized society. The audience was the people of America. They could have received the tone of the cartoon as racist or philanthropic. It was racist because it was saying that other countries were not as good as America and that America had to go help the uncivilized. But some thought of it as philanthropic seeing it as America going to help other nations to become stronger like America was. But either way it was showing that United States was helping other nations. This cartoon was during a time when America was conquering and helping other nations gain independence. The Americans felt that that conquering other nations put these nations under the best country in the world rather than under their own savage government. Americans felt that other nations should be happy that America is conquering them and giving them the opportunity to become civilized. America was giving other nations a favor and giving themselves a burden of trying to Americanize other nations. The cartoon gave a justification for the imperialism of America and expressed the feelings of Americans.
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JT: The artist who created this cartoon to emphasize the United States’ Government’s point of view in regards to imperialism. Produced during the Progressive Era, this cartoon relates to the expansive efforts made by Theodore Roosevelt to control other lands and their resources. By showing the great improvement that American control has brought to these comic characters- who apparently went from barbarism to becoming civilized- the cartoon appears to support the imperialistic motions of the time. Audiences would have originally encountered this material in newspapers. American’s viewed native people in other lands the same way they viewed Indians they encountered in America- uncivilized savages. It was considered a practically humanitarian goal to try and educate and civilize the “ignorant monkeys” that had never known the “dream” of America. The artist depicts the characters as wretched and almost ape-like in order to show how much help the humans they represent need. The after effect of American intervention is expressed through a transformation of the monkeys into classy businessmen who wear top hates and nice suits. This cartoon is primarily aimed at American voters who should support Roosevelt’s imperialistic policies, using emotional appeals that depict Americans as heroes should they “rescue” these people. Many did not support imperialism, pointing out that the Constitution does not allow it since it is written to reflect the interests of the governed, not the conquerors. This material was produced at this time to try and rally support for Roosevelt who had trouble battling against those who claimed his movements in Panama and the Caribbean as unconstitutional. This cartoon simply conveys that with American intervention, the native savages of these countries will be able to live happy, civilized lives.
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ADB -
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In Louis Dalrymple’s cartoon entitled “School Begins”, created for the January 1898 issue of Puck, Uncle Sam is shown teaching a class of children. In the front are the “troublemakers”: the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, while some of the “model students” (New Mexico, Texas, California, Alaska, and Arizona) sit peacefully behind them. In a corner sits a Native American, reading a book upside down; behind him, in the doorway of the classroom, is a Chinese youth; behind Uncle Sam is a black boy cleaning a window. On the chalkboard behind the students reads three statements which are summarized by the third: “The U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves.” In 1893, the United States overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii and established a Provisional Government. Controversy followed as the Queen repeatedly made attempts to retake the throne. Grover Cleveland “smelled a rat”, and, through the Blount Report, discovered that the change of power had not been done peacefully. He demanded that Lili’uokalani be reinstated (which created the Republic of Hawaii the following year), but because he did not enforce it with US troops, she became a figurehead. Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were under the control of the Spanish when 1898 began, though we would win the Spanish-American War for their “freedom”.

This cartoon is obviously made for the anti-imperialists’ gratification, as well as to reveal to the imperialists in North American society, and/or those who supported the war for Cuban (as well as the other Spanish territories’) “independence”, the reality of the situation. In this illustration, Dalrymple’s main point is that the United States was heavily imperialist, not to mention racist. The “model students” (the Mexican and Russian territories) have already been subdued by the U.S., and have “learned their lesson” (that new territories must be governed without their consent until they learn to do it themselves). In the case of Hawaii, annexation was being discussed in 1898, and the defiant face on Hawaii’s face (who is most likely supposed to represent Queen Lili’uokalani) represents past objections to U.S. interference in her Kingdom. As for the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, it seems that Dalrymple is predicting (fairly accurately, in reality) that the United States is looking to take these lands as territories, and that once pressured by that, those nations would respond less-than-favorably. The racism aspect seems to be less obvious in the cartoon, yet it still is evident. The black boy washing the window represents how the U.S. “subdued” the black people (that is, saw them as lesser humans and so condemned them to the bottom of the societal “food chain”). The Native American in the corner depicts, with some embellishment, of the old belief that they were savages, which shows itself in the Native American reading the book upside down (and of the alphabet, no less). The Chinese boy standing at the door represents America’s exclusion of Chinese immigrants per the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The intended effect of this cartoon was to paint a more realistic picture to North Americans of the United States’ imperialist tendencies, as well as what was to come (meaning what would truly become of the Spanish territories that had been in the national headlines, though most of this was Cuba).

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KEO- This cartoon was drawn by Victor Gillam and it appeared in the journal Judge on August 11, 1900. This was one of many of Gillam’s political satires that were meant to criticize William Jennings Bryan. He is the figure standing in the middle of the cartoon and the words “free silver” are written on his hat as a reference to one of his most strongly supported policies. Here he is depicted as a fool to express what Gillam considers the stupidity of his anti-imperialist position. In the cartoon, a Chinese boxer stands on Bryan’s left and a Filipino stands on his right. At the end of the Spanish- American War in 1898, the US gained control of the Philippines. Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country’s independence, but this was not recognized by the McKinley administration. Filipinos felt betrayed by the US which had helped them in their resistance against the Spanish and hostilities between the two countries led to a long guerilla conflict. A similar rebellion had occurred in China as well. In 1899, the US created an Open Door Policy that would open up trade to all nations. A group of Chinese nationalists called the Boxers were unhappy with foreign countries interfering in China so they launched a rebellion in which they killed over 200 people. Clearly, Filipino and Chinese rebels would not be seen in a favorable light in the US at this time. Therefore, Gillam’s audience would be receptive of the message in this cartoon which implies that Bryan was foolish for supporting an anti-imperialist policy that would appeal to violent Chinese and Filipino rebels. Gillam makes his disapproval of Bryan clear through the quote at the bottom of the cartoon which says, “Bryan- ‘Everybody is against imperialism. Now, here’s Me and the Boxer and the Filipino. What more do youse want?” Gillam depicts the Filipino with a spear and the Chinese Boxer with a bloody sword to emphasize the fact that the support of an anti-imperialist policy would be the equivalent of siding with violent rebels. This cartoon was drawn right before the election of 1900 between McKinley and Bryan so it was probably an appeal to voters to support the Republican party. This cartoon is significant because it had the capability of influencing the outcome of the election in McKinley’s favor. On a larger scale, the cartoon is significant because it illustrates one of the most important debates of the time period. The US took on a greater interest in increasing activities abroad during the early 1900s, but there were still many people who were against the idea. Some of the most well known of these people were Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Gompers, and Jane Addams. By appealing to his audience’s emotions through his reference to the violence of rebellions occurring abroad, Gillam had the opportunity to convince anti-imperialist supporters that an imperialist policy was best for US interests. MRL -
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Click to return to previous version of this cartoon...
MRL - Created by J.S. Pughe and published in Puck magazine in 1900, "Declined With Thanks" depicts McKinley's foreign policy and expansionism of the United States in general as justified and natural. This cartoon was published in 1900, amidst heated arguments of the justification of US expansion as well as the 1900 presidential election. Since McKinley was reelected , it can be inferred that the majority of American's shared Pughe's belief that expansionism was justified, and that McKinley's foreign policy was both "rational" and "enlightened". This cartoon addresses the question of whether US expansion was justified or not. Pughe depicts the expansionism of the United States as natural, indicated by the pants of Uncle Sam, which are currently being resized in the cartoon. Pughe also places continental expansion, such as the Louisiana Purchase, Texas, and Florida, on the same level as foreign expansion, like Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Thus, Pughe expresses his perspective that foreign expansion of the 1890s and 1900s is equally as justified as Manifest Destiny of the 1840s. Uncle Sam rejects the Anti-Expansion Policy remedies of Joseph Pulitzer, Carl Schurz, and Oswald Ottendorfer, all of which were prominent anti-imperialists and German-Americans. Pughe chose these three figures due do their German heritage, because he wished for the German-American public to stop aligning themselves with the seemingly un-American anti-imperialist befiefs of these three men who are "coincidentally" of German ethnicity. Pughe sought to do this to assist the Republican's campaign prior to the 1900 election to gain more German-American voters, who were widely against imperialism, by alienating prominent German-American anti-imperialists. It is thought that this campaign was at least somewhat successful since McKinley won the votes of several states in the midwest, a region inhabited by large concentrations of German-Americans. The two Democratic candidates, William Jennings Bryan and Admiral George Dewey, suffered a crushing defeat by McKinley.CJD-external image McKinleyPhilippinesCartoon.jpgThis cartoon, created by an unknown artist, was published in the Minneapolis Tribune in 1898, and clearly favored American imperialism in the Philippines. United States political leaders, president William McKinley in particular, debated the necessity of occupation in the Pacific islands, and this cartoon was produced to sway public opinion towards keeping the Philippines under U.S. control. The portrayal of the Philippines as a helpless and frightened young boy, dressed in uncivilized clothing, was common for the time. Most Americans held the belief that foreign lands such as the Philippines were filled with wild savages who needed help from a greater group of people. Depicting the Filipino boy in need of protection from McKinley and the entire United States would appeal to a large majority of the population, due to a heavy feeling of pride filling the U.S. at the turn of the century. White Americans who felt that their nation was more advanced and powerful than all others would see this cartoon and give their support to imperialism, while minorities in America could recognize the racism in this cartoon, and be less likely to encourage the expansionist cause. Convincing politicians and citizens to favor annexation of the Philippines would benefit commerce, as easier access to Asia would result. America’s economy stood to gain from this acquisition, yet the primary argumentation was to protect Filipinos from the draconian Spanish. The United States was posed to take the Philippines from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War, and this cartoon helps to persuade citizens to give popular support for this procurement. As seen in the cartoon, if McKinley returned the Philippines to Spain, it would be like throwing the little boy off a cliff to his doom. A figure with a globe head is observing McKinley’s decision at the precipice, and the bottom of the illustration contains the text, “The eyes of the world are upon him.” Taking the Philippines under U.S. control is shown to be the moral choice for the president in this cartoon, and the gravity of this decision is augmented by the stare from every country on earth. This cartoon’s goal was met when the U.S. paid $20 million to Spain for control of the Philippines, showing a strong political effect of propaganda on an imperialist agenda.JF-
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The above cartoon was drawn by William Allen Rogers, the cartoonist hired to replace Thomas Nast after his departure from Harper’s Weekly. His illustrations were intended to graphically represent the editorials featured in Harper’s Weekly. This particular cartoon was published in the magazine’s January 23, 1904 edition, to address Senator Arthur Pue Gorman of Maryland dropping out of the presidential race. Before conflicts arose, Senator Gorman was the favorite candidate among Democrats because of his pro-business and anti-imperialist views, and despite his trade-protection record, which conflicted with popular Democratic views of the time. However, his condemnation of President Roosevelt’s Panama policy ultimately cost him the support of voters, and after the February ratification of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which granted the United States power the Panama Canal land, Gorman dropped out of the presidential race. Sixteen Democrats had voted with the entire Republican majority to ratify the Treaty. The cartoon uses the Democratic Donkey to represent the Democratic Party. It’s bucking symbolizes the constituents’ rejection of Gorman. His presidential hat is falling off and in the background, the words, “opposition to canal,” are written on a wooden post, implying that his opposition was what caused the bucking. Behind the whole scene sits Uncle Sam, watching, looking disappointed by the events unfolding. The title, “Rough Riding,” is a direct reference to Teddy Roosevelt’s involvement in the Spanish-American War.
Beyond the surface issue – the dropping out of Gorman – this cartoon addresses the public feelings of the time. Even Democrats, adversaries of Imperialism, were proponents of the Panama Canal. This made the cartoon more widely applicable, because the editorial it ran with appealed to all voters. This cartoon reveals the unity felt by the nation, directly related to Roosevelt’s popularity among all sectors of the population. He appealed to young and old voters with his environmental protection policies, his energy, and his rugged demeanor. Roosevelt won the election with 57% of the popular vote, a relatively large margin of victory. This result was foreshadowed in January 1904, with the Democratic Party divided and most leaning slightly Republican toward their celebrity President. This cartoon is evidence of that sentiment. It mocks the Democratic Party’s candidate, showing the actual party bucking him off, and shows Uncle Sam looking disappointed in the background, surely a demoralizing image for any Democrat in 1904.
VB- Puck_cover2.jpg
The cartoon displayed above was published by Puck, a weekly magazine that was prominent in the United States for covers that displayed political sentiment. This was published on the cover of Puck on April 6, 1901. After the United States’ victory in the Spanish-American War, many Americans believed that the United States had become a world power. Resultantly, many began to assume that the United States was a new imperial power focused on expansion. The author is most likely in support for more expansion as they depict America without any negative characteristics. They display America as taking a new role, as illustrated on the new bonnet the woman is placing on her head. The bonnet, shaped as a ship, states “World Power”; this means that America has now emerged as a new world power after the Spanish-American War. This most likely caused many viewers to have mixed feelings about the new role of America, creating a larger division between the expansionists and those who opposed expansion. The Coat of the woman provokes a sense of patriotism along with an illustrious image. The grandiose look of America probably caused further mixed feelings among the audience, as many could argue that American has become pompous. The creator could also be insinuating the new responsibility America has after taking victory in the Spanish-American War. The black smoke that has “Expansion” engraved in it alludes to the further expansion the author believes will come as a result of the new gains that America has received. The material was produced to help show the direction in which America is moving with the rewards of the Spanish-American War. The new role of America in international relations would create two adversaries within America: those who supported Imperialism and those who did not.

American Empire as depicted on Puck
American Empire as depicted on Puck

AJJ- This cartoon entitled “Columbia’s Easter Bonnet” was published on the cover of Puck Magazine on April 6, 1901. Samuel D. Erhart, a noted anti-imperialist was the illustrator of this photo. Puck Magazine’s articles often tended to be somewhat anti-imperialist which may have further spurred Erhart to portray American imperialism so negatively. 1901 was a year that was after the Spanish-American War and during a frenzy of debates on the morality of imperialism. Those that sided with this magazine in this era were most likely anti-imperialists. The issue at large that the cartoon addresses is the immorality of conquering nations against their will simply to become a “world power.” Columbia, the woman depicted in this picture, was considered an archetypal symbol of the United States. The bonnet she wears, is a ship that symbolizes her exploitation of the army and navy in creating this American Empire. This cartoon caters to the largely democratic audience that Puck had at this time. That being said, the cartoon, being on the front cover, is very subtle and can be interpreted in a few different ways which increases the likelihood that different people may buy the magazine. More liberal audiences will react well to this cartoon while many conservative audiences will probably not enjoy the cartoon as much depending on the way that he interprets it. This material was published in order to criticize the United States’ recent wartime actions. Erhart and the producers of Puck convey the message that they want the United States to stop practicing their expansionist philosophies. The main point of the illustration is to sway the audiences opinion on imperialism to a more negative view. This cartoon is significant because it is a perfect example of anti-imperialist sentiments by a popular and powerful magazine company. The views of Puck Magazine reveal the minority view people in the age of expansionism.
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MDS
This cartoon, titled “Uncle Sam’s New Class in the Art of Self-Government”, published in Harper’s Weekly in August of 1898, attempts to portray both the concept of the “white man’s burden” – that is the American duty to spread democracy and civilization to other countries – and to parody the varying degrees of resistance they received in forcing themselves and their culture upon these other nations. The cartoon was drawn by William Allan Rogers, a cartoonist who was the replacement resident political cartoonist after the tenure of Thomas Nast ended. His cartoons were known to illustrate the magazine’s editorials, which with the advent of editor Carl Schurz had a tendency to be anti-imperialistic. The cartoon was drawn in the era when the United States was developing imperialistic sentiment and making its grand entrance into international politics. The issue of imperialism at the time was hotly debated, as those who supported entering other nations to spread the American ideals of democracy and self-government, such as Theodore Roosevelt and his supporters, were decidedly aggressive about doing so. This led to those such as Rogers, who believed that the United States should continue its policy of not meddling in worldly affairs, to parody their forceful and insistent attitude and to poke fun at the protest they received from the nations upon which they attempted to impose their ideas and politics. In this cartoon, the character Uncle Sam, who had come to be a symbol of United States pride and patriotism, represents America in its fight to “teach” democracy to uncivilized nations. The unruly boys running around the classroom who Uncle Sam cannot control represent the Cubans, who were decidedly unwilling to accept American control, while the obedient young girls reading in the corner represent Hawaii and Puerto Rico, whom Rogers is mocking for their submission to American control. Rogers is writing to those who have become caught up in the patriotism of imperialistic sentiment to remind them that America may very well be biting off more than it can chew, and that in the process it is attempting to assimilate cultures who do not wish to be assimilated.
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