During the spring semester, one of our team members, Prof. Theodora Dragostinova, is teaching an undergraduate research seminar on migration in modern Europe. In an effort to utilize OSU resources, the class visited The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and analyzed historical cartoons dealing with the topic of US immigration in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Not surprisingly, many of the issues featured in these cartoons are still being debated today.
Title: Welcome to all!
Date Created/Published: 1880.
Summary: Uncle Sam on “U.S. Ark of Refuge” welcoming immigrants, with cloud “War” over them. Description from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002719044/
Title: Their New Jerusalem
Date Created/Published: 1892.
Summary: Allegorical cartoon showing Russian Jews driven out of Russia, entering “New Jerusalem” (New York) and prospering, thereby causing “our first families” (Dutch surnames) to be “Driven out, to the West”.
Description from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005681047/
Title: The Immigrant
Creator: T. Bernhard Gillam
Publication Date: October 3, 1910
Summary: In the mid-1880s the number of immigrants to the United States from northern and western Europe declined sharply. At the same time, the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe greatly increased. The changing pattern of immigration concerned many Americans. Different perspectives on immigration are personified in this cartoon: Uncle Sam is looking for hard workers to fill the nation’s factories. The political boss wants the immigrant vote. The contractor is looking for cheap labor. The health inspector worries that immigrants carry contagious diseases. The worker fears lowered wages because immigrants were willing to work for less. The middle class man claims the new immigrants are a menace because they represent “inferior” European “races” and religions.
Description from: http://hti.osu.edu/opper/lesson-plans/immigration/images/the-immigrant
Title: Looking Backward
Creator: Joseph Keppler
Publication Date: January 11, 1893
Summary: In the mid-1880s the number of immigrants to the United States from northern and western Europe declined sharply. At the same time, the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe greatly increased. The changing pattern of immigration concerned many Americans who believed the newcomers represented, in the language of the time, inferior “races” of Europeans. The new immigrants were overwhelmingly non-Protestant Christians—either Roman Catholic or Orthodox—or Jewish and thus not Christian at all, which disturbed many Protestant Americans. This cartoon makes an ironic commentary on the children of immigrants rejecting the arrival of new immigrants.
Description from: http://hti.osu.edu/opper/lesson-plans/immigration/images/looking-backward
Title: The Hyphenated American
Publication Date: August 9, 1899.
Summary: Creator: J.S. Pughe Publication: Puck, Vol. 45, No. 1170 Publication Date: August 9, 1899 Description: In the mid-1880s the number of immigrants to the United States from northern and western Europe declined sharply. At the same time, the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe greatly increased. The changing pattern of immigration concerned many Americans. Some believed that the hyphenated-Americans (Italian-American, Jewish-American,) would never become “true” Americans. The ways political bosses integrated immigrants into corrupt urban political machines caused many native-born Americans to fear for the future of democracy. Uncle Sam sees hyphenated voters and asks, “Why should I let these freaks cast whole ballots when they are only half Americans?”
Description from: http://hti.osu.edu/opper/lesson-plans/immigration/images/the-hyphenated-american
Title: The High Tide of Immigration – A National Menace
Publication Date: October 10, 1903
Summary: Uncle Sam attempts to protect “American Ideas and Institutions” and the flag of liberty from the waves of immigrants coming in from the ocean. The caption on the image reads, “Immigration statistics for the past year show that the influx of foreigners was the greatest in our history, and also that the hard-working peasants are now being supplanted by the criminals and outlaws of all Europe.”
Title: A Crying Need for General Repairs
Publication: The Saturday Globe, Utica
Publication Date: August 27, 1901
Summary: An American Laborer pleads with Uncle Sam to repair the wall of “Immigration Restriction” because its neglect has opened the way for disreputable men to enter the country. An “Employer of Labor” in his top hat and tails happily assists a man wearing a fez as he climbs down the ladder. The image caption reads, “American Labor Calls Uncle Sam’s Attention to the Inefficiency of His Immigration Restriction Wall.”
The Opper Project, named after Ohioan cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper, has provided a lesson plan for using political cartoons to teach history. The lesson plan covers Ohio Content Standards: Grade 11, People in Societies 1; Grade 10, Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 4; Grade 9, Social Studies Skills and Methods 2; Grade 10, History 1. View it and more political cartoons fromThe Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum here: http://hti.osu.edu/opper/lesson-plans/immigration