Digital History>Topics>Political Cartoons

Overview of Doing History Through Political Cartoons

Digital History TOPIC ID 54

Political cartoons use caricature, symbols, humor, ridicule, and exaggeration to make arguments and comment on political events. Even before the American Revolution, political cartoons had the power to shape public opinion.

Some political cartoons are funny. Others are satirical. Some are ferocious. Frequently, political cartoons spark outrage. In 2006, cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, which caricatured the prophet Mohammad, touched off violent protests across the Muslim world.

Political cartoons use caricature, symbols, humor, ridicule, and exaggeration to make arguments and comment on political events. Entire political arguments can be summed up in a single line in a political cartoon. Often, political cartoons are criticized for being one-sided and unfair. But an effective cartoon makes readers think.

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