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[ Election of 1872 ] Thomas A. Davies / Smart Sc[ulpsit?], WAR! WAR! WAR! TO THE KNIFE ON POLITICAL CORRUPTION. [:] POLITICAL SMASH-UP. Washington, 1872.

Wildly-inventive cartoon attacking corruption during the Election of 1872

A rare and astonishingly complex cartoon attacking American political corruption during the Election of 1872. No names are named, but the villainous “Big Politician” is surely a stand in for Boss Tweed, the Grant Administration, or more likely both.    This is one of three or four cartoons produced in 1872 by Thomas Albert Davies, a […]

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William Charles Bruin become Mediator 1813

William Charles War of 1812 cartoon: Bruin become Mediator

A rare political cartoon by William Charles, Bruin become Mediator satirizes a Russian attempt to mediate between Britain and the United States during the War of 1812. In early 1813 Tsar Alexander I of Russia offered to mediate between Britain and the United States, in hopes of resolving the issues that had precipitated war between those countries. […]

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Henry Dawkins Liberty Triumphant 1774

Liberty Triumphant, a rare American cartoon celebrating the Boston Tea Party

Liberty Triumphant is a rare and vivid print, remarkable for its graphic complexity and use of cartographic elements, and as one of very few large-format political cartoons to appear in the Colonies before the Revolution. Background This cartoon lampoons the Tea Act, enacted by Lord North’s ministry in Spring of 1773. The Act retained an existing tax […]

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Matthew Darly, THE COMMSIONERS [sic] interview with CONGRESS 1778

Matthew Darly satirizes the 1778 British peace commission to Congress

A scathing Matthew Darly satire of the peace commission sent by Great Britain in the Spring of 1778 to patch things up with the American Colonies. Shocked by the loss of Burgoyne’s army at Saratoga in October 1777 and by the conclusion of a Franco-American alliance in February 1778, British Prime Minister Lord North sent […]

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[Benjamin Franklin], The Colonies Reduced / Its Companion. London: Designed & Engraved for The Political Register, [December 1768.]

The Colonies Reduced, a Ben Franklin cartoon satirizing The Stamp Act

An early re-issue of The Colonies Reduced, a clever political cartoon by Ben Franklin attacking the Stamp Act. The cartoon consists of two panels. According to Dolmetsch the upper panel is based on a cartoon originally designed by Benjamin Franklin while acting as Pennsylvania’s colonial agent in London. Upon the passage of the Stamp Act in […]

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A Picturesque View of the State of the Nation for February 1778. [London: For The Westminster Magazine], February 1778.

A picturesque view of British failures in North America

A Picturesque View of the State of the Nation is a witty Revolutionary War-era political cartoon published in early 1778 at a low point for the British effort to bring its rebellious colonies to heel. The cartoon appeared in The Westminster Magazine for March 1778. At the time General Howe and the main British Army […]

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Wilkes turns up the heat, while North America burns

A small-but-intricate political cartoon weaving together themes of Great Britain’s domestic politics and imperial policies, and including as imagery a map of North America in flames. The narrative of the cartoon involves the return of John Wilkes to Parliament and his role as a would-be reformer and critic of Lord North’s hard-line policies toward British America. […]

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The original Gerrymander

A rare and spectacular broadside satirizing one of the most toxic yet enduring features of American politics. In 1812 Massachusetts Republicans led by Governor Elbridge Gerry engineered a radical redistricting, designed to disadvantage the Federalist majority in the upcoming state senatorial elections. The legislation was enormously successful, and in that year’s election the Republicans’ majority […]

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An iconic cartoon from the run-up to the American Revolution

A small-but-brutally vivid political cartoon deploring the Boston Port Bill of 1774. Soon after the Boston Tea Party of December 1773, Parliament retaliated by passing the five so-called “Intolerable Acts.” Among other things, these brought Massachusetts political appointments under control of the British government, restricted town meetings for a year, and closed the Port of Boston […]

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William Charles (artist, engraver and publisher), JOHN BULL and the BALTIMOREANS. Philadelphia, [1814].

William Charles satire on the heroic defense of Baltimore in 1814

A scarce and visually striking political cartoon by William Charles satirizing the failed British attack on Baltimore in September 1814. Though the British had declared a blockade of the mid-Atlantic coast early in the War of 1812, most of the first two years’ fighting took place along the American-Canadian border. In mid-1814 however, the British […]

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