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How to analyze political cartoons

Historians have traditionally priviledged textual evidence over other types of sources. Despite this, a number of non-textual resources contain a wealth of information that could help us find answers to important historical questions. Working with primary sources like cartoons, drawings, paintings, and photographs can sometimes prove to be challenging, particularly if you have little experience analyzing images. Political cartoons, for example, appear in newspapers across the country everyday, but they cannot be “read” in the same way as editorials and other articles. If you know how to examine them, however, there is much they can tell you about the world in which they were created. This tutorial will provide you with some basic information which should help you as you learn to “read” non-textual sources. Although it focuses specifically on political cartoons, some of the concepts it examines could be applied to other non-textual sources as well.

Jonathan Burack created a short checklist with some useful tips to keep in mind as you begin your analysis. First, since cartoons are non-textual sources, they often use symbols or metaphors to convey information rather than words. As part of your analysis you should therefore try to identify these symbols and what they might mean. You should also pay attention to how objects and symbols are depicted (particularly if they are distorted) as the way something is drawn can tell you a lot about the artist’s intent. In addition, as irony, caricature, and stereotyping are other common strategies utilized by political cartoonists, you should make a note of them when and if they are used. Finally, keep in mind that artists often adopt these techniques in order to make an argument. If possible, you should try to recognize not only the strategies themselves but also how these strategies are being used. In other words, what is the central point of the cartoon? What argument is the cartoonist trying to make? Similarly, you should always remember that, while cartoons can tell you a lot about prevalent attitudes, emotions, and political ideologies from the period in which they were created, they do NOT necessarily reflect the “Truth” about the situations or people they depict. As previously stated, cartoonists do have an agenda and this must be taken into consideration when cartoons are used as historical evidence. (Burack)

If you are still having trouble getting started, it may also be helpful to utilize the SCIM-C Technique. Although the step-by-step approach detailed on the site is fairly general, it can certainly be adapted (see below) to the specific study of political cartoons.

Step 1: Summarizing

At this stage of your analysis, you should focus on basic information about the cartoon you are examining. Who or what is depicted in the cartoon? What is it about? Can you identify any common symbols? Is there any text and, if so, what does it say? Who drew the cartoon and in what newspaper did it appear? Who was its intended audience? Does it have a clear message or agenda? (Historical Inquiry)

Step 2: Contextualizing

Once you feel that you have a good understanding of the basics,you should begin to think about the time and place in which the cartoon was produced. You must consider the perspective of the source’s creator as well as its original audience in order to ensure your interpretation is historically sound. Although some images in eighteenth and nineteenth century political cartoons remain common today (such as the Republican Elephant and Uncle Sam), symbols and styles do change over time. If you make assumptions based on modern interpretations,you might soon find that your ideas are contradicted by additional evidence. In order to better understand these issues, you should ask yourself a number of different questions. Where was the cartoon first printed and how widely did it circulate(was it in a local paper, a state paper, etc.)? What date was the paper issued? Were there any important events going on at the time that might explain the subject matter of the cartoon? What other articles are printed in the paper and what topics do they discuss? The answers to these questions might help you determine why an illustrator chose to draw a particular cartoon when he or she did. (Historical
Inquiry)

Step 3: Inferring

In the third stage of your analysis,you should use the basic and contextual information you have previously considered to broaden your understanding of the source. Although it might be tempting to assume that you have finished your work once you have described the image and placed it in its historical context, by looking more closely at the cartoon you can uncover hidden meanings that you missed when answering more basic questions. What do some of the images or symbols in the cartoon suggest? How is the subject matter portrayed (i.e. is the subject being mocked or praised)? Whose viewpoint is being represented and, by extension, who is being left out? Why might this be? Is there evidence to suggest that the paper (or the cartoon)supported a particular party or interest group? Remember, political cartoons often have an agenda and an important aspect of analyzing them involves uncovering what this agenda might be. To that end, you should ask yourself what the artist was trying to say in the cartoon you are examining. Why, ultimately,did he or she create it? The answers to these types of questions bring you closer to answering larger historical questions that you might have about the cartoon or its subject. (Historical Inquiry; Burack)

Step 4: Monitoring

At this stage in your analysis, you should pause and think about the work you have done thus far. What questions have you been unable to answer about the cartoon and where might you go for more information? Are there symbols or individuals that you cannot identify? If you are examining the cartoon as part of a research project, it may also be a good idea to ask how the source can help you reach your goals. Are you making the best possible use of the source? Does it help you answer your larger question or should you move on in order to find something more appropriate to your research? (Historical Inquiry)

Final Step: Corroborating

Once you have finished your initial analysis, it is time to begin comparing the cartoon to other sources so that you can construct a historical argument. In order to determine where the image fits in your research you should examine how it is both similar to and different from your other sources and why. In other words, how does the cartoon highlight or contradict information provided by other textual or visual sources and, just as importantly, what can you learn from these similarities and contradictions? If you find conflicting interpretations, do not be afraid to investigate the matter further. Additional research might shine a light on any discrepancies and, perhaps, open new avenues for investigation. (Historical Inquiry)

How to analyze political cartoons

Political cartoons are an excellent way to assess the popular culture of a particular time period. This lesson will combine history and language arts by asking students to examine various political cartoons in order to analyze point of view, symbolism, analogy, captions/labels, and irony, as is recommended in Pennsylvania’s Core Standards.

This lesson also will help students use their critical thinking skills to understand various historical events and, at the end of the lesson, students will have the opportunity to create their own cartoon. HSP has hundreds of political cartoons so if you find that you would like to use more, feel free to contact us for a full list of age appropriate cartoons for your classroom.

Essential Questions

Objectives

  • Learn how to analyze political cartoons.
  • Apply figures of speech such as Exaggeration, Irony, Analogy, and Symbolism.
  • Understand the author’s point of view.
  • Determine the importance of the historical moment.

Primary Sources

Other Materials

Suggested Instructional Procedures

1. To begin this lesson, it is important to discuss each of the vocabulary for analysis. These vocabulary words are set up to help your students determine the author’s point of view. You can use the examples given or come up with your own as you see fit. If your students have never seen some of the vocabulary words, this will probably take a little longer, yet for students who are already familiar with the terms this will work as a refresher.

2. Next, go over with the students the vocabulary for historical context. These are people or terms that will show up in the political cartoons; therefore, they should at least know the bare minimum. This way, when they see the words or names, they have enough background knowledge to understand the picture. It will be best for each student to be given a handout with the historical content necessary so that he or she can refer to it while observing the cartoons.

3. Now, explore the Common Symbolism worksheet with students. This will help them grasp common themes that will pop up in political cartoons, such as donkeys representing the Democratic Party, elephants representing the Republican Party, and rats representing dirt or filth, etc.

4. Once the students have sufficient background knowledge, you can display the political cartoons. Have the students take out their Political Cartoons Analysis worksheet and fill out a row for each cartoon. Make sure to walk students through the first cartoon, pointing out how each of the vocabulary is used in the cartoon.

5. By cartoon two or three, begin to let students write out on their own the symbolism, irony, point of view, exaggeration, and analogy that they find in the cartoons. By the end, they should be able to work independently to figure out what the cartoon is depicting, using their vocabulary and common symbolism worksheets as a guide. After students finish their independent assessment of a couple cartoons, present the findings with the class to make sure students understood.

6. As a final objective, ask students, individually or in pairs, to create a cartoon of their own which expresses their point of view on a specific topic. This final objective can be historical, relating to the topics in the cartoons, or something from their everyday life. For example, ask them how they would use symbolism to show things in their everyday life, such as “Cleaning their room,” “Lunchtime at school,” or “Snow Day,” just to give a couple of topic examples. Also, you could ask them to create a cartoon that talks about a specific topic in history that was being discussed such as the Civil War or a Presidential election etc.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary needed for analysis:
Symbolism: Something that stands for something else. For example, a heart can be a symbol for love.
Irony: Words that mean that opposite of their usual meaning, for Example, a bald man named “Harry.”
Analogy: Comparison between two different things that may have similar characteristics. For example, he is as loyal as a dog or she runs as fast as a cheetah.
Exaggeration: Making something seem more that it really is, for example, telling your parents that if you do not get the toy you want, it will be the ‘end of the world.’
Inference: Conclusions reached based upon reasoning and evidence. For example, if I draw a picture of a bug with a big red X over it, based on the evidence from the picture you could infer that I do not like bugs.

Vocabulary for Historical Context:
Abraham Lincoln: 16th president of the United States (1861-65). He was the president during the Civil War and he signed the Emancipation Proclamation that emancipated the slaves.
Jefferson Davis: President of the South (confederacy) during the Civil War from 1861-65.
William Taft: President of the United States from 1909-1913. Known for being a very large man.
Woodrow Wilson: United States Democratic President after Taft (1913-1921). He is sometimes depicted as weak in political cartoons due to his views on maintaining neutrality rather than entering World War I.
George McClellan: A General for the North during the Civil War. He believed in preserving the union first.
Inauguration: A ceremony that begins a president’s term in office.
Secession: Withdrawing or removing yourself from membership, usually withdrawing from membership in a government. For example, the southern states seceded from the Union during the civil war to form the Confederate States of America.
Garfield: President of the United States (1881), yet only briefly because he was assassinated.

How to analyze political cartoons

Cartoons can sometimes make a serious point. Benjamin Franklin’s 1754 “Join or Die” began the use of political cartoons. These visuals have been important in history by informing illiterate citizens and conveying a point of view on a political issue. Cartoonists, with a single picture, could insult enemies, celebrate allies, change people’s minds on important issues, and be humorous enough to make an impact on the public’s view. Political cartoons bring humor and exaggeration to past and current issues. I tell my students political cartoons are pictures with a point. We can provide students with the tools and questions they can use to decode and understand political cartoons.

Benefits of using political cartoons

Political cartoons are in most of today’s textbooks. However, even adults can have a hard time decoding the meaning. Providing opportunities for students to learn to decipher and understand political cartoons can:

  • Give a more personal view of historical events
  • Provide opportunities to develop critical thinking skills
  • Encourage building connections to the past
  • Provide a picture which can be less intimidating than text
  • Illustrate contemporary attitudes toward key events in history
  • Allow practice in identifying persuasive techniques/bias

Ways to analyze political cartoons

Political cartoons allow students to examine the many persuasive techniques cartoonists use to change people’s minds. The most used persuasive techniques are symbolism, exaggeration, labeling, analogy, and irony. Students can learn to spot these techniques. There are a lot of people out there trying to change our minds. By knowing how they’re doing it, we can teach students to make informed decisions.

Symbolism – Simple objects, or symbols, can stand for larger concepts or ideas. Have students identify any symbols and what they are intended to represent.

Exaggeration – Physical characteristics of people or things may be exaggerated to make a point. Students should look for these exaggerations and why the artist chose to exaggerate these features.

Labeling – Sometimes objects or people are labeled to make it obvious what they stand for. When students see labels, ask them to decide why the artist decided to add a label.

Analogy – By comparing two different things, cartoonists can help their readers see a different point of view. If students discover an analogy, have them decide what the analogy is comparing and the point the comparison makes.

Irony – Irony is the difference between the ways things are and the way things should be or are expected to be. Students should decide if the irony expresses an opinion on the issue.

How to analyze political cartoons

Questions to ask while analyzing

  • What point is the cartoonist trying to make?
  • What techniques, such as symbols, words, caricature, exaggeration, and irony, communicate the message?
  • Which method of making a point is most effective? Why?
  • How would the cartoon be different if it had been created by a cartoonist with a different point of view?
  • What conditions might have given rise to this cartoon?
  • What groups might it have appealed to?
  • What values does the cartoon express?

How to locate resources

Whether in your school building or teaching remotely, should you engage your students with a funny cartoon to learn about a time in history? You betcha!

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Melissa Knowles has worked in education seventeen years. She earned her bachelors’ degree in Elementary Education at the University of South Alabama, a master’s degree in Library Science from University of West Alabama in 2009, and her Educational Specialist degree from University of West Alabama in 2010. She has earned several technology-related certifications and is currently working on a certification as a technology coach. In her work as a certified trainer for several Social Studies School Service, she builds curriculum maps, develops micro-credentials, and trains educators on using the programs, as well as leads and hosts webinars on various topics. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, reading, and anything outdoors.

Before we dive into political cartoons, we should probably review how to analyze historical sources. Mr. Lexington taught us a primary source analysis process that’s designed to get us thinking deeply and asking questions about our sources.

Let’s take a minute to walk through each step of how to analyze primary sources.

Wait! You’re not done yet! After you’ve gone through the three steps, you can go back to step one and see if you have any new observations!

Features of a Political Cartoon

Now that we have reviewed how to analyze a historical source, let’s ask Mr. Lexington for help and take a look at those cartoons together. Mr. Lexington, can you explain what a political cartoon is?

Features of a Political Cartoon

How to analyze political cartoons

I sure can! A political cartoon is a cartoon that makes a point about a government issue. The Library of Congress calls them “pictures with a point.”

How to analyze political cartoons

Political cartoons can be found in the newspaper, but you won’t find them on the same page as Charlie Brown and Snoopy comics.

How to analyze political cartoons

Instead, they’re part of the editorial section, where people write about what they think.

How to analyze political cartoons

Like other opinion pieces in a newspaper, the point of a political cartoon is to change your opinion towards the cartoonist’s point of view.

When analyzing political cartoons, it’s best to used a method called SCAMS (How to Analyze). SCAMS is an acronym that stands for subject, caption, actions, message, and symbols.

The subject of the cartoon can also be called the topic or main idea.

The caption is simply the title. The title is important because the title is also part of the cartoon. So, this means that it’s part the jab at the target.

The actions or activities of the cartoon are what’s happening in the cartoon. They can be “movement, action, or dialogue” (How to Analyze).

The message is the meaning of the cartoon.

And finally, the symbols are used to represent stuff in the outside world. It’s important to figure out what the symbols stand for to understand the cartoon.

How to analyze political cartoons

This Halloween comic is one of a political nature. It portrays two little kids that are out trick-or-treating. In the background, the White House is visible. The kids are walking away from the White House with a disappointed look on their faces. One of the kids says to the other “He said I wasn’t paying my fair share, so he took my candy and gave it to a kid who wasn’t even trying to trick-or-treat”. Then, the second kid says back to the other “Don’t worry… I hear he may be moving soon”.

This cartoon’s main message is that the current president is acting unfairly to the kids who are working for their candy. The subject of the cartoon is the policies of President Obama and his administration. The symbols here are that the kids are hard-working Americans who are earning their money, which is represented by candy in the cartoon. The White House is used to represent President Obama, and the taking of the candy to give it to other children is used to represent the perception held by the Tea Party that the President is redistributing money, or candy.

To analyze a political cartoon, you must look deeper into the context of whatever is being said in the cartoon, while keeping in mind that these cartoons generally speak upon a serious subject (of which the reader should be able to understand) but do not do so in the way that people should become offended. It is a “political cartoon,” as it shows an important subject throughout politics, but describes in it a way that everyone can view and consider without becoming too offended.

This guide that describes how to analyze political cartoons (source below) differs from my suggestions in that it vividly tells the reader how to look into a political cartoon, not only understanding the meaning of the subject given, but doing so by noticing specific things in the cartoon, such as the first thing that draws your attention, or how the cartoon might look different than it would in a photograph.

I never thought about looking as deep into a political cartoon to understand it as this guide had explained, and that is why I chose this guide as the one that I will use to analyze other political cartoons. In the future, I will look further into the cartoon to understand what the picture is really trying to depict, not only an opinion or a certain topic, but the importance of that opinion or topic.

How to analyze political cartoons
Philippines Political Cartoon

This cartoon shows Aguinaldo, as the person holding the shovel, under the massive boot of the US, trying to pry the US off of the island. The sign behind him states: “NOTICE: The U.S. is requested to withdraw P.D.Q. -Signed, Aguinaldo.” This shows how even though it is clear that Aguinaldo wants the US to withdraw from the Philippines, they were there to stay, as shown by the massive boot that demonstrates the US’ power and strength against the Filipinos.

This cartoon represents the US and how they attempted to reform the Spanish culture of many different colonies, such as the Philipines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In this cartoon (again showing the US as a large character to demonstrate the nation’s power) the US is depicted as a teacher, trying to teach the classroom full of students (representing the Spanish colonies), while it is obvious that the students dont want to listen or cooperate at all. This shows how the US was trying to force the Spanish colonies to assimilate to American ways, and it is clear that they didn’t want them to.

This cartoon depicts the US (again) as the hulking Uncle Sam, as he stands over the United States, while reaching to grab for Cuba and the Philippines, This illustrates how the US, while already a giant among empires, continued to reach towards the Spanish colonies for conquest.

How to analyze political cartoons

‘Minimum Wage Hike’ by Steve Breen Cartoons are used by cartoonists to communicate effectively a certain messageto varied segments of populations in different countries and the world over. More so, political cartoons are widely known for their efficacy in relaying messages and at times to caricature certain individuals or aspects of the society. This paper attempts to decode a political cartoon and analyze its persuasive technique. Further, it compares the impact of the written text with that of a cartoon on the same issue.

Looking at a cartoon minimum wage hike by a political cartoonist, Steve Breen, I realize that he has presented a very weighty issue of wage hike in contemporary societies, and the mechanisms that are either set in motion in its anticipation or brought about by its occurrence. The stable man withstanding the weight of an equally bulky man on top portrays small businesses in the economy of nations that more often than not, bear the weight of the pay hikes which despite their minimal status, bear huge weight on the small businesses.

Despite the massive burden of the pay hike, the small businesses are seen to be resilient and persevere to sustain themselves and the weight altogether. The cartoon also displays some unethical practices occasioned by the introduction of the hike. Physically, the cartoon, shows the bulky individual-the weight- mercilessly down treading on rather clean and well pressed shirt of the man bearing the weight, introducing dirty marks on the shirt. Moreover, upon reaching the top, the carried man steps right in the nose of the one below, thereby suffocating him.

Furthermore, the carried individual mercilessly strikes the eye of the one below and by that blinding him. In trying to decode this last range of observations, these acts could indicate the confusion that come with such issues of pay hike. The dirtying, blinding and the suffocation in the process of bearing the weight is suggestive of the corrupt practices and all other forms of unethical practices that the small businesses suffer from. The level of grooming of the man on the top is also suggestive of a golfer; a game conventionally associated with the wealthy.

Political cartoons express opinions about political events in a humorous and pointed way. Since most cartoons use very few words to make a point, it makes many assumptions about what you know. To understand a political cartoon, you must recognize the cartoon’s assumptions . Some are harder to figure out than others, depending on your background in social studies, but, with a little practice, you’ll be able to learn how to analyze and interpret the political cartoons for the high school equivalency test.


Here are 3 things that will help you understand the meaning behind a political cartoon:

    Background knowledge. Most political cartoons are about current events. However, you may be presented with a cartoon that is about something in the past. A key in understanding what the political cartoon is trying to say is knowing what time period in which the cartoon takes place.

Let’s take a look at an example (it’s not exactly political, but let’s do a fun one for the first try!):

Marshall Ramsey, Jackson Mississippi, The Clarion Ledger
www.cagle.com

Now you try some.

Obviously, everyone will have slightly different answers for the questions, but check the answers listed and let’s see how we compare.

    What background information do you need to know about this cartoon?

In order to analyze a political cartoon I think it is important to look for important political figures and then objects that could represent an issue that the political figure is involved with. Finally look for what is happening to the object or political figure in the cartoon and try to figure out what point the artist is trying to get across in the cartoon.

After looking at cartoon analysis guide I realized that I was correct about looking for political figures and symbols but when trying to find the meaning of the cartoon it is important to also look for exaggeration, labeled objects and people, an analogy between a familiar situation and a political situation, and irony being depicted in the cartoon. Using this guide I will be able to successfully analyze a political cartoon.

Spanish American War Political Cartoon

In this cartoon President McKinley is labeled letting a dog which represents the US army out of its house labeled Tampa to attack a man wearing a hat labeled Spain. While the man is running from Army he is caught by a second dog named Navy. This cartoon represents President McKinley sending the eager army out of Florida and in to Cuba to attack the Spanish, and even when the Spanish tries to run from the army they will be caught by the Navy.

This cartoon shows a Cuban mother holding her dead son. The reason his head looks old is he represents the young soldiers that died during the war. This cartoon puts emphasis on the negative aspects of the war and how devastating it was for the Cubans.

How to analyze political cartoons

The decisions students make about social and political issues are often influenced by what they hear, see, and read in the news. For this reason, it is important for them to learn about the techniques used to convey political messages and attitudes. In this lesson, high school students learn to evaluate political cartoons for their meaning, message, and persuasiveness. Students first develop critical questions about political cartoons. They then access an online activity to learn about the artistic techniques cartoonists frequently use. As a final project, students work in small groups to analyze a political cartoon and determine whether they agree or disagree with the author’s message.

Featured Resources

It’s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons: This interactive activity has students explore the different persuasive techniques political cartoonists use and includes guidelines for analysis.

From Theory to Practice

  • Question-finding strategies are techniques provided by the teacher, to the students, in order to further develop questions often hidden in texts. The strategies are known to assist learners with unusual or perplexing subject materials that conflict with prior knowledge.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability

How to analyze political cartoons

Cartoons in the newspapers can be hilarious. These are often hinting at recent events of national importance and the politicians are often the butt of the jokes. This is a practice that is generally found the world over and one cannot completely absolve the politicians of their part in becoming the target.

However, these cartoons are not everyone’s cup of tea and some struggle to understand them. If you are one of those people, this is not a big problem and a bit more understanding of both politics and humour can fix it for you.

Others are Reading

Instructions

Follow the News

The articles are based on the news. These will often be about some statement made by a person in position of power or some news that just broke. Chances are that the cartoon will highlight the problem related to the statement or the action and will do so in a satirical manner. So stay in touch with what is going on around you and you will get an idea.

Sense of Humour

Everyone has a different sense of humour and if you are one of the more articulate types, you will certainly not be a fan of everyday humour that goes around in masses and probably do not understand most of it either. It’s time to change this trend and start this by joining some guys whom you would generally not hang out with. Listen to their jokes and try and understand. The ones you do not understand ask about them later on. Generally a pal who can understand your trouble with these jokes can come in handy to guide you. Most often the undertone in these political cartoons is based on common humour and you must understand it to read the cartoon.

Read Books

There are always some fantastic books which are based on political satire. They will not only help you understand the history of politics as they generally carry loads of it and how and why the satirist targets others. There will certainly be some cartoons that will further enhance your vision.

Ask

Do not be shy and ask other around you the significant of a certain political cartoon that you do not understand. Seek their perspective and understand how they feel about the cartoons themselves as well as what they feel the cartoonist tried to imply. This will help you in understanding more and more as you keep on following these and soon you should be able to read them yourself in no time.

When I am trying to analyze a political cartoon the first thing I do is look at the drawings and try and figure out the little hints and add ins used to portray the political situation.

Teachers Guide: Analyzing Political Cartoons
-observe
-reflect
-question
These are the three steps that the guide told me to do when analyzing a political cartoon. I had the observing part correct but missed the refection and question asking section of the analyzation process. Now when I analyze a political cartoon I will not only observe what I see why question the importance and why it was but into the cartoon.

Clifford Berryman Political Cartoon Collection
On first glance of this political cartoon my eyes went straight to the boot crushing the Philippines. Your mind then wanders over to the sign that says, “Notice. The US has requested to withdraw P.D.Q” and the little man next to the boot. After the observance I started to think about the meaning of all of these things and why they were placed into the cartoon. The boot is representing America because of the flag pattern on the pants and its overpowering hold that it has over the island. The small man next to the boot is used to show the Philippians are putting up for their country. This political cartoon causes the viewer to question the intrusion of the Philippians and to show the power that America had over them.

When observing this political cartoon the first obvious thing that is seen is Uncle Sam, Americas mascot spanking a Filipino with what looks like straw. The Filipino is drawn as a child being punished and Uncle Sam drawn as the father figure having to do the punishing. After I observed everything in the political cartoon, I then start to think of the importance of the parts of the cartoon. I think that Uncle Sam is spanking a Filipino because he is scolding him for not listening to him and being unfit to run his own country. This political cartoon causes the viewer to question the intenseness of the hold that America has over the Filipino community.

3. American Propaganda and War in the Philippines
This political cartoon is depicting three men one Filipino, one Hawaiian, and one Cuban joining together in celebration over the Independence of America. You can tell this by the American flags that are being waved and the caption of the cartoon itself. This cartoon is important because it shows the coming together of all the countries. The political cartoon makes you question why they didn’t come together earlier because of the happiness that is seen on their faces.

As with any aspect of history, it is important to understand how these concepts and tools translate to the modern world. Political cartoons are still a powerful tool used by the media to address complex issues. With the internet as a tool, artists and journalists can create and upload cartoons anytime and share them with millions of readers within a matter of days or even hours. The first political cartoon artists of the 18th and 19th centuries could never have imagined the ability to reach such a large audience so quickly. Because of this, the purpose and style of political cartoons has changed over the centuries and it is important to analyze the different contexts of historical and modern political cartoons. While the purpose, style, and contexts might have changed, we can still apply the same analysis techniques to modern political cartoons. The following section will briefly walk you through an analysis of a modern cartoon and then you will answer several questions to check your understanding.

Amazon Monopoly (2017)

Figure 1. Amazon depicted as a monopoly.

This political cartoon is a commentary on the modern-day monopoly that the Amazon corporation holds, which extends to the U.S. Capitol and a statehouse. One tentacle reaches for the White House, while another has a stranglehold on several people grasping papers. The image above is actually a modified political cartoon. The original was published in 1904 as a reference to the corporate monopoly that the Standard Oil Company had established in the oil industry. Standard Oil had to be broken up by the Supreme Court in 1911 for violating anti-monopoly laws. The juxtaposition of the old-style cartoon with the modern Amazon logo creates a striking image, which we will analyze.

This is the original 1904 cartoon:

Figure 2. Original 1904 cartoon depicting Standard Oil as a monopoly.

Try It

Let’s analyze the “Amazon Monopoly” cartoon using the strategies learned above.

This cartoon depicts Nixon standing in front of a giant tomb stone stating “20,000 American Dead Since 1968” while he carries a sign that says “Secret Election-Year ‘Plans to End War'”. During the 1968 presidential election, Nixon promised he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War. By the time 1972 (the year this cartoon was penned) rolled around, he had yet to actually propose this super secret plan. Men were still dying everyday in Indochina and there appeared to be no steps being taken to remove them.

How to analyze political cartoons

Following the Watergate Scandal, Nixon refused to release the White House tapes that held incriminating evidence against him. In this cartoon, Nixon is depicted between two of said tapes holding on for dear life. Written on the tapes (and the piece of paper so elegantly clenched between his teeth) is “I AM NOT A CROOK”. Accused of corruption in the CIA, FBI, and even the Pentagon, Nixon persisted in refusing the release of his tapes until the Supreme Court ordered him to do so, overruling his Executive Privilege.

3 comments:

Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an “L” on her forehead

Well, the years start coming and they don’t stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn’t make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

So much to do, so much to see
So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?
You’ll never know if you don’t go
You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

[Chorus:]
Hey, now, you’re an All Star, get your game on, go play
Hey, now, you’re a Rock Star, get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold

It’s a cool place and they say it gets colder
You’re bundled up now wait ’til you get older
But the meteor men beg to differ
Judging by the hole in the satellite picture

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The water’s getting warm so you might as well swim
My world’s on fire. How about yours?
That’s the way I like it and I’ll never get bored.

Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas
I need to get myself away from this place
I said yep, what a concept
I could use a little fuel myself
And we could all use a little change

Well, the years start coming and they don’t stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn’t make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

So much to do so much to see
So what’s wrong with taking the back streets
You’ll never know if you don’t go
You’ll never shine if you don’t glow.

How to analyze political cartoons

Ultimately, the power of the cartoon cannot be found within any single component of its message but rather with the entire combination of symbolism, labeling, and exaggeration that it presents. Finally, the analysis will seek to answer the question of whether or not the portrayal of the cartoon is effective in persuading the viewer and/or audience to think or view a situation in a given context or manner. The first aspect of the cartoon that grips the viewer’s attention is the clear use of symbolism and labeling that the cartoonist has employed to denote the Christian, Muslim, and members of the SCAF that are represented.

This labeling simplifies the issue and allows the participants within the cartoon to be reduced and simplified to a mere 3 active entities. By utilizing the Christian cross, the Muslim crescent and the insignia and uniforms of the SCAF, the reader is made aware of what each participant within the cartoon represents and symbolizes. . This level of purity is further symbolized by the fact that the Christian and Muslim man (representing the broader populations of both of these entities within Egypt) are clothed in white.

Naturally, exaggeration is also employed in a massively effective means as the SCAF is denoted to be an insidious and corrupting influence that displays the same generic and shameful behavior under the guise of its constitutionally given power. This exaggeration is the strength behind the entire cartoon. Although the Christian and the Muslim occupy center stage within the confines of this political cartoon, it is the corrupting influence of the SCAF that provides the power behind the image that is typified.

Yet, rather than making a blanket statement regarding the ultimate goodness or evil that is exhibited by the SCAH, the cartoon seeks to strike at the core of the problems that are exhibited within Egypt; namely a power structure that is able to take advantage of natural and key fault lines that exist within the political spectrum; thereby allowing the members of the government and the SCAH to behave in a manner that they would not do otherwise. In short, the increase in division serves the purposes that they strive to accomplish (Lawate 2).

Ultimately, the reader and/or researcher can understand that the given political cartoon is not only effective in communicating an understanding of the present day situation within Egypt and/or the Arab world, it is extraordinarily effective in such a task. Although this is not always the case for a political cartoon, this particular cartoon is one which allows its underlying simplicity and the vocal and omnipresent nature of its participants to speak to its underlying truth. Due to the fact that almost all

How to analyze political cartoons

Students learn terminology that describes comics and political (or editorial) cartoons and discuss how the cartoonists’ choices influence the messages that they communicate. Students first identify and define the various parts of a cartoon, including layout and design, angles, and text terms. After discussing several cartoons as a full class, each student analyzes the techniques that the same cartoonist uses in five or more cartoons. Students compare the techniques in the group of cartoons and draw conclusions about why the cartoonist chose the specific techniques to communicate their messages. This lesson points to contemporary political cartoons but can also be completed with historical political cartoons.

From Theory to Practice

Students are surrounded by texts, print and nonprint, that take advantage of the increasing options for combining words, images, sounds, and other media to create a publication. As these options increase, the capabilities that students must develop to be knowledgeable members of their literacy communities also increase. As the 1975 NCTE Resolution on Promoting Media Literacy states, “new critical abilities ‘in reading, listening, viewing, and thinking’. enable students to deal constructively with complex new modes of delivering information, new multisensory tactics for persuasion, and new technology-based art forms.” Political cartoons provide an opportunity to explore these critical abilities in the classroom. By asking students to explore the ways that cartoons combine words and images to communicate their messages, this lesson plan asks students to develop and hone the multimodal literacy skills that ultimately help them participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

How to analyze political cartoonsNews and Observer, May 26, 1900″ />

The following paragraph analyzes a political cartoon from the Raleigh News and Observer from May 26, 1900. The analysis draws upon secondary sources to help interpret the cartoon. The example adheres to proper scholarly standards by including citations (in this case, parentheticals) and a reference list.

Depictions of African American Misrule in the Disfranchisement Campaign

During the campaigns of 1898 and 1900, political cartoonist Norman Jennett created a number of viciously racist depictions of African Americans for inclusion in the Raleigh News and Observer, a newspaper which was sympathetic to the Democratic Party and its white supremacist agenda. In this particular example, North Carolina Congressman George H. White is pictured as an elephant, a symbol of the Republican Party, of which he was a member. Although White is not identified by name, as he was the only African American serving in Congress between 1897 and 1901, the reference to “our only Negro Congressman” would have likely been recognizable to most readers. The Congressman, whose face is somewhat caricatured, is shown contentedly suckling from a jug marked “TERM OF CONGRESS WORTH $5,000 A YEAR.” This suggests that White was only interested in his own financial gain and also ties him to stereotypical representations of African Americans as lazy drunkards. The caption at the bottom suggests that White’s days as a congressman (and by extension the days of “negro domination”) would soon be over. As White and Josephus Daniels, the editor of the News and Observer, had an intensely antagonistic relationship, it is perhaps no surprise that the Congressman was singled out for attention by the paper’s cartoonist, particularly as he provided the perfect example of the supposed “negro domination” that the Democrats campaigned against. For example, during the campaign of 1900, Daniels repeatedly attacked White for statements he made during a debate over lynching law as White reportedly claimed white men were just as likely to attack black women as black men were to attack white women. This cartoon, thus, represents a more visual attack in an extensive campaign against the congressman. (UNC CH-Libraries, “White”; UNC CH-Libraries, “Daniels”; “UNC-Ch Libraries, “Jennett”; Justesen 2000, 1-32; Anderson 1981, 286-291).

References

Justesen, Benjamin R. “George Henry White, Josephus Daniels, and the Showdown over Disfranchisement, 1900.” North Carolina Historical Review 77, no. 1 (January 2000): 1-33.

In this political cartoon, “The Security Blanket” sketched by Eugene Payne (speaker), an Army veteran that later became an award-winning cartoonist, gave his thoughts over the Great Debate over gun control (subject) through this cartoon.

The occasion surrounding this topic is the gun control in the US. This cartoon was directed towards the people (audience) who want more gun control (those who agree) and the hunters who want to be able to get weapons (disagree). It had first appeared in 1983 October 5 on the Charlotte Observer to present the readers with knowledge and the importance of the ongoing gun control debate.

The purpose is that Payne is in favor of gun control and against the NRA’s belief in owning weapons. His tone in this sketch seems critical, because he is expressing his views over the gun control usage in which Payne clearly shows that hunters are ignorant, since they change their reason in owning a gun just for the purpose of keeping it.

How to analyze political cartoons

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Now for Ethos, he establishes his credibility through his stand in opposing the NRA for being lenient on hunters. As for Pathos, he portrays the hunter as childish and babyish needing a “Security Blanket.”

He represents this blanket, as the NRA and the Bill of Rights to explain that they use these excuses as a cover up to keep their fire arms. Thus with that information, he clearly established a Logos, since he explained the immaturity of hunters and the lack of reasoning they have to own a firearm.

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In this political cartoon, “The Security Blanket” sketched by Eugene Payne (speaker), an Army veteran that later became an award-winning cartoonist, gave his thoughts over the Great Debate over gun control (subject) through this cartoon.

The occasion surrounding this topic is the gun control in the US. This cartoon was directed towards the people (audience) who want more gun control (those who agree) and the hunters who want to be able to get weapons (disagree). It had first appeared in 1983 October 5 on the Charlotte Observer to present the readers with knowledge and the importance of the ongoing gun control debate. The purpose is that Payne is in favor of gun control and against the NRA’s belief in owning weapons.

His tone in this sketch seems critical, because he is expressing his views over the gun control usage in which Payne clearly shows that hunters are ignorant, sincethey change their reason in owning a gun just for the purpose of keeping it. Now for Ethos, he establishes his credibility through his stand in opposing the NRA for being lenient on hunters. As for Pathos, he portrays the hunter as childish and babyish needing a “Security Blanket.” He represents this blanket, as the NRA and the Bill of Rights to explain that they use these excuses as a cover up to keep their fire arms. Thus with that information, he clearly established a Logos, since he explained the immaturity of hunters and the lack of reasoning they have to own a firearm.

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Analyzing Political Cartoons: School Begins

HIS 206: United States History II

Characters in the Cartoon

The characters present in this cartoon are Uncle Sam representing a teacher, students representing Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Cuba, and students representing the following states: California, Texas, Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and others that do not have the names visible these students include an Alaskan native and a Mexican Americans. There is also an African American, a Chinese immigrant and a Native American represented in the cartoon.

Symbols and Actions Employed in the Cartoon

The Chinese immigrant is standing outside the classroom symbolizing the exclusions and restrictions of Chinese immigrants. The Native American is sitting in a chair by the door to the classroom reading a book upside down symbolizing “failure in Native American domestic policy” (Barnes & Bowles, 2015). The single African American is on a ladder cleaning a window behind Uncle Sam, symbolizing the treatment of African Americans as second class citizens. The group of mainly white students, the Native Alaskan and the Mexican Americans reading books in the back of the class all symbolize the U.S. government taking land by force from other nations. Uncle Sam symbolizes America as the teacher. He has a stern look on his face and is pointing at students in the front row who represent Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Cuba and they all look unhappy and uncomfortable. I think this symbolizes America forcing them to assimilate and take on American ways.

Issues Raised by Cartoon

The main issue raised by the cartoon School Begins is America forcing assimilation on the people’s land they acquired and the difficulty and resistance from the people being assimilated. Even though America forced people to assimilate into their culture, they did not treat them as equals. This is represented by the African American, the Native American and the Chinese Immigrant. Hawaii, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba represent people from newly acquired land being forced to assimilate and putting up resistance. This also raises the issue of racism. The good, happy, model students are all white inferring the white race is more advanced than others in the cartoon.

What does the cartoon say about the consequences of the Spanish American War for the countries occupied?

The cartoon say that as a consequence of the Spanish American War, people of the land that was acquired by America lose their cultural identity and are forced to assimilate with white Americans. They are forced to live like them but are not treated equally, they are looked at as inferior people.

Describe how your understanding of the cartoon changed after doing the analysis portion of this exercise.

When I first looked at the cartoon I didn’t notice all of the little details such as the Native American’s book is upside down. I also did not know how to analyze it. After listing out the characters in the cartoon and thinking about the symbolism I started to better understand what the artist was trying to show the reader. The cartoon went from having no meaning to making sense to me.

Reference

Barnes, L. Diane & Bowles, Mark D. (2015). The American Story: Perspectives and Encounters from 1877

How to analyze political cartoons

U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War lasted more than a decade. Have students analyze political cartoons from the primary source sets below to consider different issues related to this war and how cartoonists’ perspectives of U.S. involvement evolved over time. If students are not practiced at analyzing political cartoons, use the accompanying resources to help prepare and guide students in this type of primary source analysis. You may choose to have students analyze the cartoons twice, first without reviewing the curator notes/bibliographic information and again after. Look to the Common Core State Standards alignments below to inform activity tasks. After, have students create their own political cartoons to demonstrate understandings they gained of the Vietnam War (CCSS Writing standards 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10).

Enduring Understandings time, place, and culture influence our perspectives on people and issues; different perspectives affect the interpretation of history

Focus Question What perspectives did U.S. cartoonists provide of the Vietnam War during the course of U.S. involvement?

Vietnam War Political Cartoons 1965

Click the cartoons to view larger images; click the cartoon title to view curator notes/bibliographic information.

This task had two parts. First, students designed a political cartoon associated with the Franklin River dispute which incorporated the iconic ‘no dams’ symbol. Second, students critically analysed their cartoons and presented a rationale explaining why the images, symbols and words they chose would have been effective. This task was completed at the end of a six-week unit in which students examined the role of visual media in shaping public opinion.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 9, students evaluate features of Australia’s political system, and identify and analyse the influences on people’s political choices. They explain the key principles of Australia’s system of justice and analyse the role of Australia’s court system. They analyse a range of factors that influence identities and attitudes to diversity. They reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life.

When researching, students analyse a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance and reliability. They compare and account for different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take into account multiple perspectives , use democratic processes, and negotiate solutions to an issue. Students develop and present evidence-based arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts. They analyse ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts.

Political cartoons are generally regarded as a hypertrophied imagination of the political or social reality of the particular time epoch. The image that is selected for the analysis is from the pre-1856 epoch of US history, and it represents the imagination of the political and social life as it was imagined by artists. The cartoon that was selected for the analysis is Yankee volunteers marching into Dixie. This is regarded as a music cover 1862 year dated. This is a patriotic, and a bit sarcastic depiction of the Union forces.

Washington City: Published by C.F. Morse; Boston G.A. Morse c 1862. Creator(s): J.H. Bufford’s Lithographic Establishment, lithographer. Related Names: Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870. Morse, C. F.

Analysis

The general description of the picture presupposes that the Union forces are marching for opening the Civil War. The troop marches forward, and their dressings are characterized as the Yankee character Brother Jonathan (Brody, 106). The background of the poster depicts the skyline with capitol building. The interpretation of this painting is associated with the events before the civil war and is based on the fact that the Union forces were regarded as the only hope of the democratic development of the further American society.

Because political cartoons were based on the subjective perception of reality, it should be emphasized that the actual importance of the interpretation is associated with the necessity to explain the origins of the artist’s wish to attract attention to the fact of the civil war beginning. By the research by Lent (156), the following statement should be emphasized:

Political prints and satires have, quite appropriately, long been collecting interest for the congressional library. A particularly large group of such works from the late eighteenth century relates to the Revolutionary War period, including historical prints, satires, and allegories by American artists such as Paul Revere and Amos Doolittle, as well as British publishers from across the political spectrum.

In the light of this statement, the historical context of the analyzed poster is mainly associated with the necessity to analyze the sequence of the historic events, as well as the social background and moods of the people and soldiers. Because the poster depicts the very beginning of the Civil War, both sides of the conflict are highly inspired.

The interpretation accuracy may be doubted because the actual importance of the picture was to inspire the audience, and soldiers marching in white top hats look a bit strange. On the other hand, the colors of the US flag were regarded as a patriotic inspiration for everyone who should watch this poster. Therefore, the artist chose to draw the troops in national colors.

From the theoretic perspective of political satire and cartoons, it should be stated that the picture itself was aimed at increasing the level of self-consciousness and patriotism. In the light of this fact, the statement by Winfield and Yoon (234) emphasizes the importance of the political background and the necessity in such cartoons:

As the controversy grew in the United States over the proper form to be given the new government, cartoons and satires became an increasingly vital and ubiquitous component of the national public discourse in the formative years of the young republic. Two of the finest graphic satirists from this period, James Akin and William Charles, are well represented at the Library. For example, a rare impression of Akin’s virulent attack on President Thomas Jefferson for conducting secret negotiations with Spain toward the purchase of West Florida is significant not only as an early presidential satire but also as the earliest-known signed satire by Akin.

Hence, the United States army had to be depicted as a heroic and powerful force. Even though the national forces could not look like this, the authors managed to create the cartoon with a high level of inspiration, and create the necessary mood for motivating people.

The only reason why authors preferred to choose this type of interpretation may be explained by the fact that social advertisement was not developed highly. The national colors were regarded as the only inspirational hook possible for a political cartoon. These colors could be used either as for inspiration or for political sarcasm, however, while the warriors of the Union troops are depicted as dignified people, there is no space for sarcasm

The impact that it might have on the people is linked either with the pride for the dignity of the national troops, or with the irritation and anger of those who were on the opposite side of the barricades. Anyway, the authors reached their goal.

Conclusion

The cartoon analyzed may be regarded from several points, however, the main idea of the image is linked with the inspiration of the target audience. Hence, the interpretation of the cartoon from the perspective of inspiration and motivation may be regarded as the most accurate.

Works Cited

Brody, David and Henretta, James. America: A Concise History: Vol. 1, To 1877. 4 th edition. New York. 2010.

Lent, John. Animation, Caricature, and Gag and Political Cartoons in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Winfield, Betty H., and Doyle Yoon. “Historical Images at a Glance: American Editorial Cartoons.” Newspaper Research Journal 23.4 (2002): 97.

The artifact that I chose for my rhetorical analysis is a Political Cartoon. The cartoon is a drawing of two elephants dressed in suits that are on top of the white house. Only the very top of the white house can be seen as the rest is submerged underwater. At the top right of the cartoon, there is a time period of when the cartoon is taking place that says “Washington 2050”. Finally, there is a very brief statement made by one of the Elephants who says “Uh, still no evidence of manmade climate change. We’ll let you know if any floats by.” Finally, the cartoon has the author’s name as well as the outlet in which the cartoon was published at the top left of the cartoon. In my opinion, the message that the rhetor is trying to convey is that climate change is not only a man-made issue, but also an issue that is starting to become dangerous because of a lack of regulation. Yet, the Republican conservatives in the White House that have the power to stop the consequences of climate change continue to ignore even the existence of climate change. This cartoon, as well as all political cartoons, is a medium by which the four methods of rhetorical strategies, Ethos, Logos, Pathos and Kairos, are used extensively in the form of visual rhetoric.

The first use of rhetoric in the cartoon is persuasion through the trust of the rhetor’s credibility, or Ethos. Although the cartoon does not directly address the credibility of the rhetor, it does say the name of a person and next to it, the name of a publishing company. Drew Sheneman is a well known editorial cartoonist with a very impressive resume in the realm of political cartoons. Sheneman graduated Central Michigan University and worked at The Star Ledger for most of his career. In his 20 year career as an editorial cartoonist, Sheneman won many awards for his cartoons, most notably the “Vic Cantone Editorial Cartoon Award”. Tribune Content Agency is a large media company that sends comics and political cartoons to news and media outlets all across the country, such as the L.A. Times and ABC news. With the variety of accolades that Drew Sheneman has received over his illustrious career and the widespread influence of the Tribune Content Agency, there is no question over the credibility and legitimacy of the political cartoon.

The second form of rhetoric used in the political cartoon is logical reasoning, or Logos. In the cartoon, the two elephants, that symbolize the Republican conservatives that are currently in the white house, are staring at the water that has submerged almost all of the building. In the case of this political cartoon, Sheneman uses the image of a submerged White House as an appeal to logic. In order to appeal to the logical and reasonable response for addressing the issues of climate change, Sheneman attacks the unreasonable attitude of the Republican conservatives. It can clearly be seen by the unnatural water level that climate change is dangerous and needs to be addressed. However, the republican conservatives are shown to be unreasonable with the dialogue in the cartoon, “Still no evidence of manmade climate change, We’ll let you know if any float by”. The unreasonable attitude of the republican conservatives works to accentuate the logic of the central message of the cartoon, which is to prevent and regulate climate change.

The third form of rhetoric used by Sheneman to prove his point is the appeal to emotion, or Pathos. The two emotions that the cartoon invokes in the audience are shock followed by anger. The first thing that is felt when seeing the cartoon is shock because of the water level. Even with unnatural powers at play, to have the water level reach the top of the white, which is fairly inland, is unimaginable. However, Sheneman exaggerates the possible results of climate change to give his audience an initial shock and undeniable belief that climate change does exist and is becoming more and more dangerous. The next emotion followed by the initial emotion of shock is anger. The blatant ignorance of the statement made by one of the Elephants, about not seeing any evidence of manmade climate change, serves to tap into an emotion of anger. The fact that the audience can clearly see the devastating effect of climate change, leads to the frustration that the “intelligent” politicians in the White House who have the ability to enact change are completely oblivious to such obvious dangers. This combination of the audiences’ shock and anger serves to promote the rhetor’s argument for increased government regulation of factors that lead to climate change and to denounce the ignorance of the republican conservatives in the White House.

The fourth and last of the strategies used in rhetoric is the persuasion of the audience using the relationship between the artifact and the events surrounding the artifact, or Kairos. Although the issue of climate change has been around for quite some time now, it still remains a relevant topic today because it has yet to be recognized universally, let alone resolved and because of the recent election of a republican president and a republican-controlled congress. The fairly recent election of President Donald Trump in combination with the unprecedented consequences of climate change has accentuated the relevancy of this political cartoon. If it is not bad enough that President Trump has gone on record, denying the consequences of climate change, congress is currently under the control of the Republican Party. With all the parties that have the power to enact reforms regarding climate change completely ignorant to the effects and even the existence of climate change, it can be fair to say any form of change is distant. The ignorance of the Republican Party is a pressing issue because climate change is getting worse as time goes on. Due to climate change, polar ice caps are melting at an accelerated rate that is only getting faster and faster. Now more than ever, the effects of climate change are becoming more devastating especially in recent light of hurricane Florence. Although the evidence that climate change had an effect on hurricane Florence is still debatable, the relationship between climate change and weather is enough for the audience to make a connection between the two. The recent events of President Trump’s’ election and the devastation of hurricane Florence both accentuate the relevancy of the cartoon, which also empowered it’s message and argument about reforming factors that contribute to climate change.

Well, did it work? Although I already believed in climate change and the detrimental effects it had on weather, the cartoon made me believe that the effects of climate change were worse than I had imagined. The rhetor succeed in evoking a feeling of anger at the blatant ignorance of the republicans in power. Overall, I would say that the political cartoon had a variety of rhetorical strategies that were used effectively. The rhetor, Drew Sheneman is a renowned editorial cartoonist who’s cartoons are very effective. This specific political cartoon was especially effective in using rhetorical strategies and was very persuasive in it’s message.

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