» Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons

Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons

In an age before radio, television, and the Internet, many Americans received news and expressed their opinions about politicians and presidents through newspapers and cartoons. Political cartoons appeared in newspapers and were sold individually as prints in shops on street corners and by mail. These cartoons are vivid, sharp, and offensive to our eyes. But they invite us to put aside twenty-first-century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Artists and citizens who created these images lived in a century in which racism was deeply ingrained in American life. Even those ardent abolitionists who fought to end slavery took little account of the implication for race relations. At the beginning of the twenty-first century Americans continue to discuss the legacy of racism, and these cartoons may provide a historical point of reference for current events.