Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2 Political Cartoons from the 19 Century

         This cartoon demonstrates the large migration of Chinese to the United States, especially to California where they worked in plantations or in gold mines.  This cartoon focuses on the Asians in California participating in gold mining.  This is demonstrated by the small bag of gold and the wash board held by the man who looks somewhat less than human, characterized by an evil look and disturbing features, such as his hair.  The details of the man as well as the words "the CHINESE MUST GO" are indicative of the artists belief that the Asians are bringing negative change to the USA.  The cartoon demonstrates the man running away from San Francisco and towards China demonstrating his/her desire for the Chinese to leave not only California but the Untied States as a whole.  The contempt held by the artist for the Asians was not unique to him.  There was a movement of individuals who had negative feelings towards the Chinese who they believed were driving down wages and taking away jobs from white people.
          While I cannot claim to enjoy the message of this cartoon which promotes racism towards people who are legally attempting to better themselves in a country which promises "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  However, I will admit that I find the artists rendition of the situation humorous and visually interesting.  My favorite aspect of the cartoon is the facial expression of the Asian which is demonic in a humorous way.  
           This political cartoon depicts the effect of the Monroe Doctrine which went into effect in 1823.  This doctrine declared that any act of colonization or interference in North or South America would be seen as an act of aggression and would necessitate US intervention.  This cartoon demonstrates the distinct line which the European rulers could not cross without invoking the wrath of the United States.  The artist seems to have a positive view of the Monroe Doctrine as the words "KEEP OFF: The Monroe Doctrine must be respected" appear at the bottom of the cartoon.  Additionally the artist depicts the European rulers as ornate and sinister while the United States guard is depicted as a strong and morally upright individual.  Personally I am a fan of this cartoon because of the intense detail of the characters involved, especially the European Rulers.  I honestly do not know what my feelings are regarding the doctrine itself but I respect it as a historical piece of American policy which was intended to prevent foreign intervention of the United States.   

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