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Name: |Date: | |Graded Assignment

Practice: DBQ Prep: Political Cartoons

Your Assignment

Read the pages in your textbook that relate to this topic.
The readings associated with this lesson can be found in America: A Narrative History.

In America: A Narrative History, you will:
•read the chapter about Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

Answer the questions relating to the political cartoons provided.

What You Turn In

You will turn in your answers to the questions asked about three cartoons.

Any political cartoon, whether contemporary or historical, represents a snapshot of an artist's perspective. In this Assignment you'll look at four political cartoons drawn during the Jacksonian era. Answering the five questions about each cartoon will help you to understand some of the political issues of the time, how they were handled by contemporary politicians, and how these politicians were criticized for their actions. The questions about the first cartoon have been answered for you. Look carefully at the sample cartoon and the provided answers to get you started on interpreting the remaining three cartoons.

Hints and Tips

As you read the textbook, take notes on the Bank of the United States, Jackson's interest in the "common" man, and the Depression of 1837.

Sample Cartoon: "Office Hunters"

1. Who is/are portrayed in this cartoon?
In this cartoon, the character with devilish features flying above the others is Andrew Jackson. The smaller figures at the bottom are men and women who appear to be very happy.

Note: Obviously, Jackson's face would be much more familiar to his contemporaries than it would be to someone living in the early twenty-first century! When you look at a political cartoon from the past, it may take some work to identify the person or event being portrayed.

2. What's going on in this cartoon?
Jackson appears as a flying devil and dangles items over the heads of the people below. These people reach up to take Jackson's offerings. Upon closer inspection, you see that the people aren't necessarily happy. Perhaps Andrew Jackson is offering positions and favors to individuals.

3. What symbols are used in this cartoon?

In this cartoon, the most prominent symbol is the devil.

4. What's the political bias of the cartoonist?
In this cartoon, the artist is clearly anti-Jackson; one wouldn't praise a president by portraying him as a devil!

Note:
When you're looking at a political cartoon it's important to be aware of the bias of the cartoonist, who will portray the political figures, policies, and events in a positive or negative light depending on his or her point of view. Both contemporary and historical political cartoonists tend to take a negative stance(they usually criticize their subjects.

5. Write a paragraph in which you explain what this cartoon says about the politics and politicians of the 1820s and 1830s. Andrew Jackson was a dedicated advocate of a democratic system of government, free from all forms of privilege, elitism, and aristocracy. When he was elected president, he began the practice of replacing previous office holders. He argued that everyone in government(whether elected or appointed(should work in government only temporarily. The office holders should be citizens who serve in government for a short period of time and then return to their former lives. Here, the cartoonist is criticizing this approach. Jackson has taken the form of a devil and is tempting citizens with the perks they would receive through political jobs. The cartoonist condemns Jackson's method of choosing and appointing officials to work in government.

Cartoon: "King Andrew the First"

1. Who is/are being portrayed in this cartoon?
Andrew Jackson.

2. What's going on in this cartoon?
A “tyrannical king” Andrew Jackson, is trampling on the Constitution.

3. What symbols are used in this cartoon?
The Crown, Scepter, and other lavish...
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