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This cartoon, “A Wise Economist Asks a Question” was created by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist John McCutcheon in 1932. He was a popular cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune throughout the Great Depression. He was a front page cartoonist who graduated from Purdue University. The Chicago Tribune was a prominent newspaper of the day that did not have a strong party affiliation, but endorsed Independents, Republicans, and Democrats. The cartoon depicts a man who did not save money but blew it all on the stock market. He is being question by a squirrel as to his decision. The cartoon being printed at the beginning of the Great Depression, is capturing the economic turmoil facing the country. It simultaneously reprimands and sympathizes with the men and women who lost their money in the stock market crash. People would see this cartoon and cartoons like it on the front page of newspapers. This cartoon really speaks to the real cause of the Depression, careless spending. By understanding the causes of the Great Depression and the situation that many Americans found themselves in, one can see how it would affect a person from that time period seeing it. It is scarily similar to the recent collapse of Enron and the housing bubble's burst. The “Wise Economist” in this cartoon is a squirrel, representing how the wise man would store money for a darker future when he had the ability, as a squirrel does with nuts. The man is meant to represent all those impacted by the bank failures. This being a cartoon for the masses, the Chicago Tribune would want to play to their sympathies. Those who were hurt by the stock market crash would have seen this and been reminded how they should not have invested what they couldn't have lost. The reason behind this material is to make the American public see the error of their ways, and in the future become more fiscally responsible. It was the perfect time to display this message to the people. It was years after the collapse, but before Franklin Roosevelt got going as president with his new deal. By appealing to the masses this cartoon would increase circulation, because more people would want to read something that related to them and had similar opinions. Its message is a strong reminder to be responsible, so that in hard times, you don't have to deal with your mistakes. This material would have been very effective for the day and would have helped to influence people against rash economic decisions.
Casey Orr is the author of this cartoon. He worked for the Chicago Tribune during the Great Depression and was against the New Deal. This was published November 17, 1935 after the First New Deal had been implemented in 1933 and the Second New Deal in 1934 so it reflected that some people during 1935 did not trust the bill and found it unconstitutional. Since it was published after the New Deal had begun, it revealed some reaction to the program rather than beliefs from before it had began. Readers in Chicago would have seen this cartoon first since it was published in the Chicago Tribune. This picture addresses the New Deal and the Constitution as it advocated that the New Deal was unconstitutional. To fully understand the cartoon it was important to be familiar with the Trojan horse as the New Deal was represented as a Trojan horse; with this knowledge, readers would understand that the cartoon argued that the New Deal was an attack on the Constitution. The Trojan horse is labeled as the New Deal and so represented the New Deal while also likening the two and the wall represented the Constitution as it was also labeled as such. This was created for the average American as it was published in a daily newspaper with a wide audience; because of this, it might have been made to be easily understood which could be why, even though it would have been clear to those familiar with the battle of Troy, the horse was labeled “New Deal Tyranny” rather than simply “New Deal.” Those who also criticized the New Deal would have paid this sketch mind because they agreed and those who upheld the New Deal would have for the opposite reasons. Those in agreement would have reacted positively and those who disagreed with the depiction would have reacted negatively. This material was produced to reflect an opinion on the New Deal which was why only one view was shown. It was produced November 1935 because the New Deal was still in place. It addressed that the New Deal was unconstitutional and implied that the government should not involve itself in the economy. This picture argued that the New Deal was an attack on the Constitution and was also tyrannical. This was an important cartoon since it referenced the New Deal during the Great Depression and depicted one viewpoint during that time. This cartoon could have lead to more people distrusting the New Deal.
pigs at the trough
pigs at the trough

This cartoon, entitled Recovery Package by John Baer, was published in 1931. It appeared in Labor, a National Railroad Union publication, implying Baer’s support for the laborers of society. It may be assumed that Baer’s political cartoon was published to further expose the economic inequalities of the recovery package. The laborers despised the government’s favoritism toward large corporations and their ignorance toward the working class of society. The economic policies of Andrew Mellon created a pro- business environment. From the public perspective, big business was the only recipient of government subsidies. Although some political leaders like President Herbert Hoover would deem this cartoon as misleading, it sympathized with public animosity. The message of this cartoon confirms the public assumption. It illustrates that the government cares only about the wealthy members of society. The caption, “Pigs at the Trough,” is depicted by Uncle Sam feeding his fat conglomerates. Pigs are used by the cartoonists to emphasize the over-indulgence of these economic entities. The pigs are named to show the benefactors of the recovery package. Outside the fence, and excluded from benefits is the “rest of us.” This pig symbolizes the hard working farmers and laborers of society. This cartoon was published to influence voters in an upcoming Presidential election. It helped lead to the creation of a less-biased policy, known as the New Deal. does not fully reflect APPARTSJT political_cartoon.jpg This political cartoon was created by a newspaper cartoonist who shared the viewpoint of the common man on the Great Depression. He clearly wanted to spread the message that working men had not failed to act properly when saving their money and that their family situations were not their fault. There was no clear path to avoiding economic disaster during the Great Depression. Most products were bought on credit, as was stock, so when the Stock Market crashed, people fell deep into debt and when they went to the banks to get their savings, they found that the banks had closed for they had loaned away all of their reserves. Successful husbands who had worked all their lives to have money for their children lost everything, leaving many men feeling like they had failed in their paternal role. This cartoon sympathizes with their situation. The cartoon depicts a man dressed in business clothes who is looking at a road sign which is supposed to lead him to prosperity. He clearly has lost his way in the Depression, but the sign is completely unclear as to what where he should go. No one knew the answer to fixing the Great Depression. Cartoons like this, however, helped men to see that they were not responsible for what happened. Still many men slipped into their own depressions, committed suicide, or abandoned their families to find a job somewhere. The Great Depression left America lost and confused, just like this political cartoon.does not fully reflect APPARTSCJD-
1936-new-deal, book, and magazine illustrator Gregor Duncan created this comic for Life magazine in 1936. Duncan was generally in favor of the New Deal and FDR’s plans, but drew based on the leanings of his publishers. Living in New York City at the time, Duncan was in a place that felt the full effects of the Great Depression, and was the location of its inception. Seeing impoverished Americans may have influenced Duncan to be supportive of Roosevelt’s plans to help the working man. The comic here depicts the New Deal’s struggle for approval from the Supreme Court which deemed the Agricultural Adjustment Administration unconstitutional in 1936. The New Deal is shown as Don Quixote facing his legendary enemy, the windmill, which represents the Supreme Court. Two interpretations of this drawing are apparent, one being more obvious, which is that the New Deal is bound to fail against the Supreme Court, just as Quixote was famously defeated by the windmill in his fictional story. Also a possible message of the cartoon is that the New Deal has lofty goals like Quixote, and continuously will fail at achieving them. Duncan was a supporter of the New Deal, but Life magazine became critical of it around 1936, so this may have been in accord with the magazine’s ideals. Farmers and beneficiaries of New Deal plans were likely to pay attention to this comic, which had a humorous goal but effectively portrayed the inability of Roosevelt to create a sufficient agricultural fixture at the time. Most Americans were looking for any sort of improvement during the Great Depression, and farmers were some of the most damaged economic group. Duncan’s comic succeeds in portraying a political situation of 1936, but does not necessarily offer a solution. The AAA was later replaced with another agricultural plan from Roosevelt, since the former was determined to be to intrusive for the federal government to legally enforce.

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This cartoon, “Awful job quieting anything around here”, was created by Clifford Kennedy Berryman. He was the renowned political cartoonist for the Washington Star who won the Pulitzer Prize. This cartoon was published in 1930, which was during the start of the Great Depression. The stock market had crashed and there were multiple problems that needed to be solved. This cartoon represents Herbert Hoover as a mother trying to calm down the children, who represent business depression and drought damage. It appeals to the masses by expressing the widespread opinion about Herbert Hoover. They believed that he had huge problems on his hands and he was doing nothing about it and just complaining. The problems were not being solved. The cartoon expressed the rage of the people toward Hoover. The donkey that is outside the window symbolizes the Democratic Party. It shows how they are gaining power, because at the time no one wants Hoover as president. Hoover is a Republican and because he is doing such a poor job as president, the Democrats are convincing the people to join the Democratic Party. This cartoon not only insults Herbert Hoover, but it is also an advertisement to join the Democrats. Due to the slow response of Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression was not ended during his presidency. After the persuasion of the Democrats the next president was the democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt. This cartoon really shows the crisis at the time and the inability of Herbert Hoover to do anything.

This cartoon was created by Robert Day in February 1936. It depicts a group of WPA workers mocking a new employee, who is depicted actually performing labor while the group stands around, leaning on their shovels. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created after Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act in 1935, which gave the organization funding. FDR passed it with the intention of creating millions of new jobs for the poor and/or homeless Americans (which it did) and offer them relief until the economy recovered. However, it was criticized by some for the extreme sluggishness when it came to moving forward, or even completing, WPA projects; this was in part because foremen didn’t want to fire anyone during the worst depression in American history, and the concept that demoting or firing lazy employees would not spur other workers to improve their work ethic. There was also the fact that the WPA gave a “safety-net” type of wage, ensuring that workers would be paid regardless of project problems (time, quality, completeness, etc.).
The group of 4 “shovel-leaners” represents those in the WPA who have realized they can be paid for doing little (most workers were only required to work for 4 hours in order to provide more jobs overall). The cartoon is clearly mocking the WPA with the quotation that the one working man on the site looks like a fool. However, the main idea of the cartoon is not only to poke fun at the at times ineffectual nature of the WPA, but also to criticize Keynesian economics at large. Day is showing that when the government gets involved in creating too many jobs, and there is a great surge of reemployment, a stalemate between employment and progress occurs. This is important in having an objective and complete scope of FDR’s New Deal (specifically the WPA), and to not only look at the idealism of it, but also at what was often times the reality of the situation. Day’s audience for this cartoon is most likely conservatives and other critics of FDR, the WPA, and Keynesian economics.

Drawn by illustrator C. W. Anderson and published in The Washington Tribune of August 1931, "Confidence" represents the fact that Americans had realized that part of the recovery effort during the Great Depression is the regaining of confidence. This cartoon was published amidst of time of uncertainty and hopelessness during the early throes of the Depression. The desire for confidence was perhaps a significant reason why Franklin D. Roosevelt was invariably favored by the American public, since his plethora of ideas, visible effort, and soothing fireside chats helped calm and incite hope within Americans. One of the primary vehicles of FDR's effort was the New Deal, and later the Second New Deal. The innumerable organizations formed by the New Deal, designed to bring relief, recovery, and reform upon the United States, served as physical reminders of Roosevelt's abundance of ideas and approaches to help restore the economy. These ideas, laws, and actions, were not only successful in raising confidence by helping the United States survive economically, but the confidence gained was invaluable to the psychological restoration of the public as well. Thus, Anderson's cartoon reflects only a piece of the effects of Roosevelt's New Deal. Only a piece, yes, but an undeniably vital piece. It is the public's confidence that eventually led to Roosevelt's unorthodox extended term, as well as his immortalization as one of the most successful and groundbreaking Presidents in the history of the United States.

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This cartoon was drawn by Clifford K. Berryman, who drew for the Washington Star at the time this it was published. He drew pictures satirizing both Democrats and Republicans, but remained respectful in his depictions of politicians. The cartoon was produced after the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933. It criticizes the National Recovery Administration after some began to see the downsides of the act. Audiences originally encountered it in the Washington Star, one of the dominant newspapers in the DC area during the first half of the twentieth century. It presents the question of how much the NRA was helping business owners get back on their feet during the Great Depression.

The bird labeled “The Blue Eagle” represents the NRA, which regulated business practices. Because Americans were encouraged to only do businesses with companies that were members of the NRA, those that were not still struggled. This is represented by Roosevelt shooting down the “Lone Eagle.” This would have put negative connotations on the NRA because the Lone Eagle was also a nickname for Charles Lindbergh, who was a national hero at the time. To the American people, Lindbergh represented the success of the hard-working individual, and the picture with Roosevelt shooting down a bird bearing his nickname would have sent the message that Roosevelt was working to help businesses, not the people themselves.
It was created for those who were affected by the NRA, which included American businessmen and consumers. The cartoon was used to cast a negative light on the NRA, and show people that it was not beneficial to all. This would have influenced small business owners who chose not to join the NRA, because it would have given them an explanation as to why their businesses were not growing. It would have stirred up some discontent about the New Deal (though not enough to prevent Roosevelt from winning the next election). Others may have seen this as good rather than bad, because it also set a minimum wage and maximum working hours, which was seen as beneficial to workers. It was published while Franklin Roosevelt was instituting his New Deal in response to the Great Depression, so it reflects the desire of Americans to return to economic stability. It does this by questioning the effectiveness of the NRA New Deal program. The main point of the cartoon is that Roosevelt, through use of the NRA, was killing off independent businesses, and that this was bad for the restoration of the American economy. This material is important because it led some to question the good of the NRA, which was eventually thrown out after the “Sick Chicken Case.”

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KEO- This cartoon was drawn by L. Rogers and it appeared in the Chicago Defender on May 26, 1934. This is the third in a series of four cartoons that Rogers made criticizing the New Deal for the segregationist and exclusionist views of its programs. The Chicago Defender was the leading black newspaper in the US that primarily targeted African American readers. There was a huge shift of African Americans to the Democratic Party during this time, but the racist aspects of the New Deal were still a concern. Most New Deal programs treated blacks as second class citizens and segregated them from whites; they usually received lower wages than white workers as well. This particular cartoon is a commentary on the Agricultural Adjustment Act that was enacted in May of 1933. It was meant to help farmers earn more money by paying them to curtail production of several agricultural commodities, but it had the effect of expelling black tenants and sharecroppers from their land as a means of getting rid of the surplus production. The cartoon makes a reference to the South’s Cotton Belt which was a major place of work for African American tenant farmers. Rogers depicts a group of men leaving to show how badly the Act influenced the people of the area. The cartoon references Simon Legree, the villain in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He was a cruel and abusive slave owner, so by comparing the AAA to Legree, Rogers makes a strong statement on what he believes to be the evils of the program. Rogers appealed to his African American readers, primarily those from the south, by comparing the program to such a hated symbol of cruelty and racism and by reminding them of the past evils of slavery. The Chicago Defender was known for outwardly denouncing national issues and dramatizing racial injustices and this theme is prominent in Rogers’ cartoon. This cartoon is significant in that it is representative of the struggles African Americans still faced, especially in the south where it was difficult to enforce national policy and racism was often applied to local enforcement of New Deal programs. Although they did receive some help through the New Deal, racism was still a problem, as this cartoon clearly shows. The cartoon also makes strong emotional appeals that had the potential to make large amounts of African Americans change the way they viewed the New Deal.


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This cartoon depicts Franklin D. Roosevelt mixing various people and programs together in a huge “democratic recovery broth” as part of his New Deal. It was published by cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman during the height of the Great Depression, when Americans were putting all of their faith in Roosevelt to uphold his relief, recovery, reform promise. Berryman, an extremely popular cartoonist for the Washington Star, was known for his skepticism and satire of both the Democrats and the Republicans, and this particular cartoon demonstrates his skepticism of FDR’s lofty plans to heal the American economy. Some in his audience shared his sentiments, believing, as does the man sitting by Roosevelt, that he was attempting to create too many programs, more than he could handle. Roosevelt created a stirring when he became one of the only presidents to ever choose mostly intellectuals, regardless of political party, to his cabinet. Many believed that this great mixture of opposing ideas would cause his recovery plan to sink. However, this cartoon, while satirizing FDR’s efforts to mix so many different ideas, ones that could possibly fail, also brings light to what many consider the genius of Roosevelt’ presidency. He was willing to take risks (despite heavy criticism), knowing that some of his ideas would fail, but willing to try regardless. The fact that the man criticizing FDR in the cartoon sits so far back from him and that FDR continues despite his warning represents that the critics truly lay in the background – as Berryman knew, the majority of Americans placed all their trust in him and would see his mixing of people and programs as a novel way to achieve the promises of the New Deal.

berrymanbig.jpgClifford Berryman, a renowned political cartoonist, was a wealthy republican during the time of the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal plans were viewed as extremely popular in the public’s eye. However, as his plans were put into action, many rich republicans saw programs such as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were threats to the American republic. The Washington Star newspaper, in which this cartoon was published, happened to contain a majority of wealthy republican writers and cartoonists. The feelings the Washington Star were very hostile toward F.D.R.’s New Deal plans, and these contradicting ideas are portrayed in this cartoon. Created during the Great Depression, this cartoon ultimately represented a contradicting perspective on what was seen to be F.D.R.’s flawless plan. This cartoon was seen by many in the Washington Star newspaper, witnessing a differing opinion on the AAA – a program put in place by the New Deal. As a Democratic president, history would have it that Republicans would reject F.D.R.’s plan. This material was created for those devastated by the Great Depression in an attempt to sway their ideas on the New Deal. Readers tended to reject this material, because of their steadfast belief in Roosevelt. This material was produced to contradict the public’s perspective on one of the New Deal’s program; the AAA. This material does not contain any lifelong lessons, but rather a temporary belief that the public should conform to. The material is simply demonstrating the idea that the AAA is a flawed program. By depicting the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, as Adolf Hitler, Berryman made a stand against the AAA as a whole.AJJ-
"The King Can Do No Wrong"
"The King Can Do No Wrong"
This cartoon was drawn by an unidentified person whose last name was Greaves in 1940. Though Greaves was not a popular cartoonist, this cartoon was relevant because it accurately portrayed the republican view of Franklin Delano Roosevelt after both the New Deal and the Second New Deal. This cartoon was obviously written by a Republican who thought FDR had gained too much power. 1940 was a year that was significant because FDR had both passed most of his recovery programs and was deciding to seek re-election for an unprecedented third term. This criticized the sheer amount of power that FDR had and his “defiance of the constitution” in doing these things. The robe and crown FDR wore in the picture symbolized this “king-like” status as a leader. The intended audience is wealthy Republicans who dislike FDR. Greaves’ argument was that FDR was not obeying the laws of the constitution and his unchecked power was growing exponentially. Greaves believed that the ideal president would be conservative pro-business politicians. The main point of this picture is to convince the viewer that FDR had too much power and that FDR needed to be stopped. It is a significant picture because it gives the viewer perspective on the minority view in the Great Depression.VB-external image expand-newdeal02.jpg
This cartoon was created by Clifford Berryman, a frequent contributor to the “Washington Post”. Previous cartoons display Berryman as a nonpartisan because he criticized both Republican and Democratic presidents, due to their trivialness and lack of knowledge about whether their policies could work. The newspaper, however, has been traditionally criticized for reporting left-wing bias information on editorials and cartoons. Audiences originally encountered this material in the newspaper which was daily circuited throughout the Virginia area. This cartoon was featured in the “Washington Post” in 1933 and clearly portrays FDR with his programs that were fostered from the New Deal. FDR blindly implemented many programs, often unsure of whether the program would work or not. This material thus addresses the uncertainty surrounded by FDR’s New Deal program. The stockings hanging over the fireplace indicates that it is around Christmas, and FDR waits eagerly next to Uncle Sam to receive something from his stockings. This can be interpreted as FDR waiting to receive a sign of progress from any one of these programs. Uncle Sam holds an expression that believes FDR is naive with his stockings. Uncle Sam represents all of the United States watching as FDR places his programs up, while the little boy represents FDR waiting eagerly to receive a sign of hope. This material was created for individuals affected by the Great Depression who already had a pessimistic point a view; similarly this cartoon also portrays that view. Daily readers who were unsure about FDR’s programs would be most affected by this because the negative point of view would be conveyed to them also. This material was created to show the uncertainty of many people in the United States about what FDR is doing. This material was created at the time it was because at this point many programs of the New Deal had failed while others had succeeded. This created a mixed feeling from Americans about the effectiveness of FDR. The message within the cartoon also urges many to wait and see how many of these programs work. It also conveys the diligence FDR had been working with to combat the Great Depression. The economic implication of this material illustrates the slow pace recovery because FDR must wait to see which programs worked. While this program may have made some increasingly pessimistic others may have become optimistic believing that FDR could succeed. 1/23
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This cartoon, "Planned Economy or Planned Destruction?" was created by Carey Orr, a conservative opponent of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Orr worked for the Chicago Tribune for fifty years and eventually won the Pulitzer Prize for his work. The Chicago Tribune was owned by Colonel Robert McCormick, another conservative who disliked Roosevelt.

The cartoon was published in 1934, about one year after Roosevelt’s inauguration. In contrast to former President Hoover’s insistence on a balanced federal budget, FDR’s Hundred Days drastically increased the government’s involvement in the economy. Such involvement increased government spending, and FDR financed this activity largely through deficits. Meanwhile, in Russia, Stalin had consolidated power by undemocratic means (he exiled political opponent Leon Trotsky in 1929) and instituted a program of rapid industrialization, so the Soviet economy grew during America’s Great Depression.

In the cartoon, FDR’s advisors Ickes, Wallace, and Richberg are shoveling money to represent the government’s reckless spending. The “young pinkies from Columbia and Harvard” ridicule FDR’s “Brain Trust” (a group of intellectual advisors) as merely students intoxicated with power. Tugwell, the head of the “Brain Trust,” uses his power to drive the Democratic Party (represented by a donkey) to support FDR’s spending policies. The Russian character in the foreground and Stalin and the Kremlin in the background symbolize Communism and therefore associate Communism with FDR’s New Deal.
This cartoon would have had a strong influence on conservatives already suspicious of FDR’s spending and his break from Adam Smith’s classical economic theory. In contrast, FDR’s supporters (who constituted the majority of Americans) would have been happy that Roosevelt was at least trying to boost the economy, and those benefiting from FDR’s policies (such as CCC employees) would not have considered such efforts wasteful. Keynesian economists would have seen government spending as a necessary condition for recovery and might therefore have been offended by the suggestion that such expenditures were the precursor to totalitarian rule.

This cartoon argues that government spending under FDR is a reckless waste of the nation’s resources and a dangerous step toward communism. Orr suggests that the financial stability of the government (supposedly the strongest in the world) is in danger, so he wants Roosevelt to halt his expensive programs (such as the AAA and PWA) before the nation’s finances are ruined. Orr also wants Americans to realize that the increased size of the government necessary for these programs could allow FDR to destroy the Constitution and rule as a dictator so the nation will not naively progress toward Communist totalitarianism as Orr suggests that Russia did.

Initially, FDR’s popularity discouraged significant opposition to his plans, and Congress approved virtually all of his legislation. FDR’s major opponents during his first term were not conservatives but radicals such as Huey Long who favored an even larger government role. However, during Roosevelt’s second term, conservative criticisms similar to this one did mobilize opposition to FDR’s continuous deficits and to his plans that would supposedly destroy the Constitution (such as his infamous “court-packing” scheme), forcing him to scale back some projects and eventually end the New Deal.