Political Cartoon: The “Bloodhound Law”
A. My cartoons message is that the United States Congress forced Northerners to capture and return escaped slaves to their masters. The controversial law allowed people to seize alleged fugitive slaves without due process of law and prohibited anyone from aiding escaped fugitives or impeding their recovery. It was often presumed that a black person was a slave; the law threatened the safety of all blacks - slave and free. My cartoon also conveyed a message that the law does not express the sentiments of our “American democracy.”
B. The man on the right dressed as a southern plantation owner represents the United States Congress. The riffle in his hand represents the penalties for disobeying the law: a fine of $1,000 (about $28,000 in present-day value) or 6 months of imprisonment. The dog’s collars identify them as Ohio and Indiana; they represent the border states. The dog on the right represents “American Justice” whereas the dog on the left represents the Fugitive Slave Law. The man being attacked by the dogs represent the escaped fugitives. The hills and sun on the far left corner represent Canada.
C. While reading my textbook, the book stated that Abolitionists nicknamed the Fugitive Slave Act the "Bloodhound Law" due to the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves. The nickname inspired me to create a political cartoon where the dogs were the northern states tracking down a runaway slave. I choose the images because the scene of the dogs attacking the slave due to the master’s orders accurately portrays the effects of the Fugitive Slave Law.
D. As I have said before, my cartoon also conveyed a message that the law does not express the sentiments of our “American democracy.” The dog labeled “American Justice” is waiting for his turn to viciously attack the slave in the tree. The purpose of drawing the bloodhound so aggressively was to represent the injustice of the Fugitive Slave Law. Slave