Political Cartoons of the 1920's


A cartoon is a representational or symbolic drawing that makes a satiric, witty, or humorous point. Most of the time their targets are in the field of politics, public affairs, but they may also be in social customs, fashions, or personalities. Comic art can be dated back to ancient times all the way to Egyptian walls and Greek vases. Cartoons are drawings or a series of drawings that tell a story or express a message. Cartoons are a way to not only entertain, but to teach and comment about a person(s) or event.

The decade of the 1920ís also known as "The New Era" brought a sense of new opportunity following World War I. Politically speaking it also brought about a new sense of opportunity and progression. After WWI cartoonists were freed from the government-imposed restraints, and cartoons were produced for propaganda purposes only. Political cartoonists increased during the later 1890ís and the early 1900ís, as their work became a popular and important feature of the daily press.

Cartoons are always portrayed in a humorous way, but the cartoons during this decade symbolized much more to the American people. During the 1920ís there was a tremendous amount of change to the United States, and to the American people. Cartoons were based on many political issues that were going on such as the Treaty of Versailles, the formations of the League of Nations, the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote, and the 18th Amendment that brought prohibition. This era brought forth an entry way for new ideas. The United States concluded WWI. This was followed by the Red Scare, the scandle plagued administration of President Warren G. Harding, the return to "Normalcy" and The Great Stock Market Crash which closed out the decade. Cartoonists such as Rollin Kirby, Jay Darling, Daniel Fitzpatrick, and John McCutcheon used cartoons to reflect their own opinion on these subjects. They were expressing the voices of those less heard. Cartoonists mostly aimed at humor, but in reality the message behind the cartoons drawn during this time period had important messages. They also helped better inform those less capable of reading to understand clearly about these issues the true meaning of politics.

Despite how the politicians viewed the cartoons, historians viewed them to have great significance. Historians can now look back and truly capture the minds of the American people during the 1920ís. These cartoons lead historians to recapture the 1920ís as it was. The cartoonist with his drawings could say more in one cartoon than could be said by a speech given by a politician. This is why cartoons were of such great significance during this time period. These cartoons were given the interpretation that you wanted to give to it.

The 1920ís was a time of change, and had many political aspects that it was facing during this decade. People during this time had to deal from the changing of eras, the great depression, the wars, and influence that women were trying to have in the world. Cartoons were used to represent how people were feeling at this time, and what their fears were. Cartoons were usually used in a humorous manner, but in reality they were representing the voice of the American people. Cartoons in the 1920ís were a gateway to peopleís thoughts and beliefs.

Related links:

Cartoon History

From a Cartoonists Point of View

Political Cartoons During the Red Scare

Political History during the 1920's

Pictures from the 1920's