American Imaginings of the Caribbean Through 1898 War Political Cartoons

Detail from The Fin de Siecle Newspaper Proprietor 1894 Puck
Detail from The Fin de Siècle Newspaper Proprietor 1894 (Puck).

Purpose of This Guide

Political cartoons published in newspapers and magazines during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were created mainly to influence readers into taking a particular viewpoint on a historical event. During the 1898 War, this medium became an effective way of shaping public opinion into supporting an armed conflict with Spain and collecting new territories, among them, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Through the examination of political cartoons as primary sources, this guide will introduce you to American perceptions of the Caribbean during the period of U.S. Expansionism at the turn of the 20th century.

  • What can we learn from political cartoons?
  • What are the meanings conveyed by cartoonists?
  • What persuasive techniques are employed to shape my opinion on a topic?
  • Why can they be so difficult to decipher?
  • What approaches can I take to begin interpreting their meanings?
  • What long-term impacts do these short-lived 1898 cartoons have on our society, even to the present day?