Analyzing Political Cartoons Ben Franklins Albany Plan 1st

Analyzing Political Cartoons Ben Franklins Albany Plan 1st American Political Cartoon

An political cartoon, also known as an editorial cartoon, is an illustration or comic strip

containing a political or social message. Political cartoons can usually be found on the editorial page of most newspapers, although a

few, like Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury are sometimes found on the regular comics page.

Political cartoons can be very diverse and even controversial, but there is a certain established style among most of them. Most

political cartoons use visual metaphors and caricatures to explain complicated political situations, and thus sum up a current event

with a humorous or emotional picture. Over the years, certain common metaphors and symbols

have been repeatedly used by many different cartoonists. Examples include the use of Uncle Sam to represent the United States, a lion to represent the United Kingdom, a

bear to represent Russia, or a dragon to represent China. Offensive? Political cartoons stir up

a wide range of emotions Controversial or Bias

Often political cartoons are a form of propaganda portraying the artists point of view (bias) so they are usually one sided.

Depending on the publication they may lean to the right (Republican) or to the left (Democratic) Learn to recognize bias in any publication by

researching both sides of the story Propaganda, including political cartoons, are often meant to appeal to the heart and mind

Is this an political

cartoon? Does it have a social or political messag

If you sometimes get lost and dont know where to start with political cartoons, try

breaking down the process into the following steps.

Five Step plan for interpreting Political Cartoons Step One

Say what you see. As you look at the cartoon, identify every detail (written as well as drawn)

Step Two Ask Questions

Perhaps you dont understand a symbol or acronym, or you simply need more information about the issue at hand

Westboro Baptist Church

Step Three Determine the target of criticism (or commentary)

Step Four State in a short declarative sentence the

cartoonists opinion Step Five

Decide whether you agree or disagree with the cartoonist. Evaluate the merits of this viewpoint and analyze your own position.

Practice See if you can do a couple

interpretations on your own or with a partner. Write a sentence describing the cartoonists opinion for each

Spanish American War cartoons. 1


3 4


Now it is your turn! Create a political cartoon that exemplifies US Imperialism. You may use current issues or

imperialism during the Spanish American War. Use text book for supplemental information

Your Political Cartoon MUST include the following:

Be a cartoon strip or political cartoon

Must be on US imperialism Must be in color Must contain a political or social message

Have exaggerated characters or characteristics Contain symbolism Contain a brief description or opinion of your


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