Congress in the Public Eye: a look at American Political Cartoons Lesson 2: How Do People Express Views about Congress? ― The Role of Political C



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Congress in the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons

Lesson 2: How Do People Express Views about Congress? ― The Role of Political Cartoons and Public Voice

Lesson Overview


The purpose of this lesson for Teaching with Primary Sources is to facilitate students’ understanding of how the relationship between citizens and government is based on freedom of expression. It focuses on ways that citizens can voice their views about government and highlights freedom of expression as important to the health of our representative democracy. Students will investigate the artistic and persuasive techniques used by political cartoonists, evaluate the meaning of cartoons, and begin to formulate their own ideas about our government and how Congress works. Students will also learn how to become more informed, evaluate several ways that individuals can express opinions, discuss the effectiveness of various forms of communication, and practice communicating their own civic views.

Focusing on these Library of Congress Collections:



Prints and Photographs Online Catalog: American Cartoon Prints

  • Herblock’s Gift: Selections from the Herb Block Foundation Collection

  • Herblock’s History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium

  • “With an Even Hand”: Brown v. Board at Fifty

  • Votes for Women

  • Women of Protest

  • Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911

Recommended Grade Level


Grades 8–12

Course/Subject


Civics/Government

Media Studies


Standards

Generally, this lesson connects to standards on civic ideals and practices and historical and social studies analysis skills.


Time


This lesson is comprised of several “mini” activities, many of which may be taught in isolation. Activities One, Four, and Five are designed to take approximately 60 minutes. Activity Two should take two 60-minute class sessions. Activity Three should take two 60-minute class sessions, in addition to homework time.

Activity Index 


Activity 1: Understanding Persuasion Techniques

Activity 2: Understanding Historical Context

Activity 3: Analyzing Political Cartoons

Activity 4: Expressing Political Views [Currently Under Development]

Activity 5: Creating Your Own Political Cartoon [Currently Under Development]

Lesson Objectives


Understanding Objectives: WHAT students will understand

Students will understand:



  • that citizens are guaranteed specific rights in the U.S. Constitution and Amendments;

  • how Congress and its role in major historical events has been portrayed in political cartoons, and how these cartoons influenced Congress and the public;

  • ways for citizens to express views and why it is important.;

  • long-standing criticisms of Congress and determine the validity of these criticisms; and

  • how to use resources available through the Library of Congress to study issues relating to public perceptions of Congress.




Process Objectives: HOW students will learn. Students will actively:

    • (A1) describe the personal and political rights expressed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    • (A1, A3, A4) identify artistic and persuasive techniques used in political cartoons;

    • (A1, A3, A4) analyze issues addressed in political cartoons;

    • (A2) use historical context to clarify meanings of political cartoons;

    •  (A4) explain ways that people can become informed before developing views about issues and institutions;




    • (A4) explain why it is important for citizens to communicate their views to government representatives;

    • (A4) identify ways citizens can form, express, support, and communicate their political views and evaluate the effectiveness of the various forms of expression;

    • (A5) identify current criticisms of Congress;

    • (A5) identify issues currently being debated by Congress; and

    • (A5) draw a political cartoon that expresses a political view.



Lesson Materials


NOTE: Teachers should preview all sites to ensure they are age-appropriate for their students. At the time of publication, all URLs were valid.

Digital Resources from the Library of Congress


Prepare for projection

  • It’s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons

  • “That’s The Free World Deciding How Free to Be” by Bill Mauldin

  • “A Burp Special. October 9, 1944” by Chick Young

  • Photograph of Chauncey Mitchell Depew

  • “Depew—New York’s ‘Independent and Unfettered’ United States Senator”

  • “I’m Eight. I Was Born on the Date of the Supreme Court Decision” by Herblock

  • “One Nation . . . Indivisible” by Herblock

  • “Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot?” by Oscar Cesare

Duplicate and Distribute

  • “The Cartoon” by Herb Block

Resources from the Center on Congress at Indiana University


Prepare for Projection or Viewing in an Internet-Ready Computer Lab

  • Introductory Module: Congress in the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons

  • Understanding Persuasion Techniques

  • Exploring Primary Sources

  • Understanding Historical Context

  • Analyzing Political Cartoons

  • Expressing Political Views

  • Creating Your Own Political Cartoon


Duplicate and Distribute

  • 10 Ways to Contact Your Member of Congress

Other Resources

Lesson Equipment and Other Supplies


  • Student access to Internet-ready, Macromedia FLASH®-enabled computers or computer lab

  • Projection device with one Internet-ready computer

  • Optional: flatbed scanner

Lesson Vocabulary


analogy*

An analogy is a comparison between two unlike things that share some characteristics.

civil rights

rights of personal liberty guaranteed in the Constitution

critique

Citizens and cartoonists often analyze, review, study, assess, or criticize-- offering a critique of an issue or political action.

exaggerate*

Sometimes cartoonists overdo, or exaggerate, the physical characteristics of people or things in order to make a point.


irony*

Irony is the difference between the ways things are and the way things should be, or the way things are expected to be. Cartoonists often use irony to express their opinions on issues.


label*

Cartoonists often label objects or people to make it clear exactly what they stand for.


political cartoon

A political cartoon is a drawing that makes a statement about a political event or issue.


public policy

A decision, law, or other action of government that addresses problems and issues. Some policies are passed into laws, and some policies are contained in rules and regulations.


rights

In this lesson, a right refers to the powers and privileges granted to citizens.

responsibilities

Duties or obligations

symbol*

Cartoonists use simple objects, or symbols, to stand for larger concepts or ideas.


*Definition from the Cartoon Analysis Guide: http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/political_cartoon/cag.html

Procedures and Learning Experiences

The following five Procedures and Learning Experiences may be completed as a lesson or as separate activities.


Lesson Opener


Expressing Views about Congress


  1. Use a projection device with a single Internet-connected computer (or take the class to a computer lab), to show students Congress in the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons.

    Read the nine criticisms listed in the module aloud. Take a quick poll to see which criticisms students agree with. Have students explain why they agree or disagree with these criticisms and how they might begin to interpret the results of their class poll.

  2. Ask students what means citizens can use to express agreement or disagreement to those elected to represent them in the Congress.

  3.  Write the following terms on the board:

  • newspaper article

  • Internet blog

  • petition

  • song

  • cartoon

  • letter/e-mail

  • speech

  • play



  1. Ask students which of these items they think can best be used as a form of political expression and which of these media they are most likely to use to express their views.

  2. Ask students to select one of the nine criticisms of Congress from the module, and then choose one of the means above to communicate their initial view about this criticism.



  3. [OPTIONAL] Have students research the criticism they selected and see if their initial view remains the same or needs to be modified once they become more informed. Ask students to keep a record of the ways they used to become more informed about the issues and build a list of possible ways that people can learn about issues to inform their views.

Note: Students will analyze the cartoons in the introductory module in other activities.

Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Listen to students’ responses during the whole class discussion and assess their understanding of the three criticisms described in the introductory module: Congress and the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons. Assess their knowledge of the various forms of political expression.



Formal Teacher Assessment

Assess the degree to which students are able to develop and defend their point of view, as well as present reference sources they used to become informed.




Procedures and Learning ExperiencesAsking students to think about and apply the content.


Activity One: Understanding Persuasion Techniques




I. Introduction to Political Cartoons


  1. Read the First Amendment aloud to students. Ask students to summarize what rights are granted in the First Amendment and explain how these rights apply to their own lives.

  2. Explain to students that “freedom of speech” includes not only the written and spoken word, but also other forms of expression such as art, photographs, films, and advertisements. Americans have been expressing their views in political cartoons for over 200 years.

  3. Duplicate and distribute the following resources:

  • “That’s The Free World Deciding How Free to Be” by Bill Mauldin

  • “A Burp Special. October 9, 1944” by Chick Young


  1. Have students work in groups to quickly create a chart comparing and contrasting the two cartoons. Allow students to share their charts with the class.

  2. Explain to students that “That’s the Free World Deciding How Free to Be” is an example of a political cartoon. A political cartoon is a drawing that makes a statement about a political event or issue. “A Burp Special. October 9, 1944” is an example of a comic strip. It was created for entertainment.

Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Listen to student responses and evaluate their understanding of the First Amendment.


Assess students’ understanding of the difference between political cartoons and comic strips.



II. Artistic Techniques Used in Political Cartoons

  1. Explain to students that in order to understand the meaning of a political cartoon, it is important to examine the artistic and persuasive techniques the artist used. Artists often use the basic art elements (color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space) to convey ideas and evoke specific emotions.

  2. Print copies of the resources listed below:

  • Photograph of Chauncey Mitchell Depew

  • “Depew—New York’s ‘Independent and Unfettered’ United States Senator”


  1. Divide the class into groups of three or four and give each group one copy of the photograph “Chauncey Mitchell Depew.”



  2. Have groups write five adjectives that describe the photograph



  3. Give each group a copy of “Depew—New York’s ‘Independent and Unfettered’ United States Senator.” Ask groups to write five adjectives that describe the cartoon. Students should use the art elements (color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space) to help you select adjectives.



  4. Have students create a chart that compares and contrasts the two views of Chauncey Mitchell Depew. Invite groups to share their charts.



  5. Discuss student reactions to the pictures.

  • Does the cartoon make you view Chauncey Depew differently than the portrait? Why?

  • Does the cartoon make you view Chauncey Depew favorably or unfavorably? Which artistic features influenced your opinion?

     8. Ask groups to use the title and clues from the political cartoon to
         make a possible interpretation of the meaning of the cartoon.

     9. Ask groups to do brief research to confirm or revise their initial


         interpretation. Ask students to keep a list of the ways that they
         use to become informed about this cartoon (sources). Make a list
         and discuss the variety of ways used by the students and what
         knowing the background adds to the ability to interpret the cartoon.


Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Examine the comparison chart students created. Listen to student responses during the whole class discussion to assess the ability of students to identify artistic features and evaluate the persuasiveness of a cartoon.




Teacher Formal Assessment
Assess each student’s ability to formulate a reasonable initial interpretation of the cartoon, the means by which the student gained background information, and how the original interpretation of the cartoon was changed by gaining more background knowledge.

III. Persuasive Techniques Used in Political Cartoons

  1. Use a projection device to show students:

“I’m Eight. I Was Born on the Date of the Supreme Court Decision” by Herblock.

  1. Divide students into small groups of three or four. Have the groups develop a list of questions they can ask to help them understand the meaning of the cartoon.

  2. Invite groups to share their list of questions. Note whether any of the questions are the same across groups.

  3. Explain to students that political cartoons differ in artistic style; however, most cartoonists apply the same persuasive techniques. Identifying these techniques in a cartoon can help you understand the message being conveyed.

  4. [ONLINE] Use a projection device with a single Internet-connected computer (or take the class to a computer lab) to show students It’s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons.

    Read the definition for each persuasive technique aloud.

    Before you proceed to the “Test Yourself” section, ask students to look at the questions they previously developed. (See step 2.) Discuss how identifying some of the persuasive techniques can help them answer these questions. Ask students to write the answers to some of their questions.

    As a class, complete the “Test Yourself” section and identify the persuasive techniques used in each cartoon.



  5. Give students additional practice identifying persuasive techniques used in political cartoons. Ask students to complete the online, interactive activity: Understanding Persuasion Techniques. Note: If you do not have access to the computer lab, duplicate and distribute the printable version of this activity.

  6. Before students begin, describe the steps involved in completing the activity:

  • Select a cartoon. Read the text and look for details in the picture.

  • Click on one of the techniques listed on the notebook paper.

  • Type several sentences that describe how the artist used this technique in this cartoon.

  • Save and close the activity.






Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Check while students are completing It’s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons to evaluate the extent to which students are able to identify the persuasive techniques.




Formal Culminating Assessment—Teacher—

Determine from the written responses the extent to which students are able to apply categories from It’s No Laughing Matter in analyzing political cartoons.





Procedures and Learning ExperiencesAsking students to think about and apply the content.

Activity Two: Understanding Historical Context




I. Examining how Specific Events and Issues Influence Cartoonists

  1. Invite students to brainstorm about where they think cartoonists get their ideas for cartoons. List student responses on the board.

  2. Duplicate and distribute “The Cartoon” by Herb Block. Explain to students that this essay describes how Herb Block, long-time cartoonist for the Washington Post, came up with ideas for political cartoons.

  3. Ask students read the article.

  4. Discuss the article with the class, using the following as prompts for discussion:

  • According to Herb Block, what is a political cartoon? How are political cartoons different from other cartoons?

  • Why are political cartoons inclined to be negative?

  • How does Herb Block come up with ideas for cartoons?

  • According to Herb Block, what is the cartoonist’s relationship to the government? Why do you agree or disagree with this idea?

  1. Tell students that, like Herb Block, many cartoonists are inspired by specific events and issues. In order to more fully understand the message of older political cartoons, it is helpful to have some knowledge about the time and place the cartoon was created.

  2. Use a projection device to show students “I’m Eight. I Was Born on the Date of the Supreme Court Decision” and “One Nation. . .Indivisible.” Ask students to quickly examine these cartoons and speculate about when they were created and what historical events may have inspired Herb Block. Then go to the “Learn More” section of It’s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons, and have students listen to the explanations by Sara Duke.

  3. Discuss how knowledge of the historical context of the cartoons makes it easier to understand the meaning of them.




Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Listen to student responses during the discussion of Herb Block’s essay and assess their understanding of the purpose of political cartoons.


During the discussion about historical context, evaluate students’ understanding of how knowledge about the time and place a cartoon was created helps you understand the meaning.

II. Researching the Historical Background of a Cartoon

  1. Have students name sources of information about historical events. Students may identify sources such as textbooks, Web sites, radio and news broadcasts, or newspaper articles. Create a list on the board.



  2. Ask students which of these resources they would most likely use to conduct research about an historical event.



  3. Explain to students that people can get their information from primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are actual records that have survived from the past. They were part of a direct personal experience of a time or event. Letters to Members of Congress and journal entries are two examples of primary sources. Secondary sources are accounts of the past created by people writing about events sometime after they happened. For example, a textbook is a secondary source. Ask students to describe some other examples of primary and secondary resources.



  4. [ONLINE] Have students complete the Exploring Primary Sources activity. While students are browsing the online collections at the LOC, have them select two resources they find particularly interesting. Invite them to share these resources with the class and explain why these are considered primary resources.



  5. Write the following questions on the board:



  • Who is the author? What do you know about the author?

  • For what audience was this created?

  • What was the purpose of this source?

  • What sorts of information does this source provide?

  • What is the main idea conveyed? What evidence does the author give to support his or her ideas?


  1. Explain that all sources of information have a point of view, or bias. When interpreting historical sources, you should consider the questions written on the board.



  2. Select one resource from the Exploring Primary Sources activity. (See Step 4.) Collaborate with students to analyze the resource and answer each question written on the board.



  3. Divide students into small groups of three or four. Assign each group one of the following resources from “With an Even Hand:” Brown v. Board at Fifty: 



  • Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine: “Daisy Bates to Roy Wilkins on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine”

  • Meredith Enrolls at Ole Miss: The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama), Monday, October 1, 1962.

  • Federal Assistance Needed: “John A. Morsell, Assistant to NAACP Executive Secretary to President John F. Kennedy Requesting the Assistance of the Federal Government in the Case of James Meredith”

  • Obstruction and Delays in Virginia: “Draft per curiam opinion.”

  1. Ask students to examine these documents, read the information about them, and write answers to the questions listed on the board.



  2. Invite groups to share their answers.



9. Ask students how examining these resources can help them understand Herb Block’s cartoons: “I’m Eight...” and “One Nation... Indivisible.”




III. Understanding Historical Context




  1. Duplicate and distribute, “Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot?” by Oscar Cesare. Ask students quickly examine this cartoon, speculate when it was created, and consider what historical events may have inspired the cartoonist.

  2. [ONLINE] Have students complete the Understanding Historical Context activity. This activity will help students learn about the circumstances that led to women’s suffrage becoming a bill before Congress and give them a better sense of the historical context for the cartoon.

  3. Before students begin, explain the process to them:

  • Go to the “Add to Timeline” section and click on one of the resource types: congressional document, document, image, audio, or video. A new screen, “Add Media and Captions,” will appear.

  • Click on the +Add button under the Add Media frame. A new window containing a pre-selected list of resources about women’s suffrage will appear.

  • Examine these resources, noting the date of the resource as well as any pertinent information, and then select one you would like to include in your timeline.

  • Click on the Add this _____ button. You will be returned to the “Add Media and Captions” window, where you can type information about that resource in the Date (select from a drop-down list), Caption, Copyright, and Description frames. Note: You must fill in information for all of these fields before proceeding to the next step.

  • When you have added all the information for that resource, click Submit Entry. You will be returned to the main Timeline, where this resource will be added to the timeline at the bottom of the window.

  • Repeat the steps above until the timeline contains all of the resources that you want to include.

  • Explore your timeline.

    • Notice that the images associated with each resource have been arranged in sequential order along the timeline, according to the date you selected.

    • Clicking on any of those small images will bring your information into the main viewing area: Caption, Copyright information, and Description.

    • The date appears in the top corner of the main viewing area.

  1. Give students the opportunity to share their timelines with the class and briefly summarize what they learned about women’s suffrage.

  2. Ask students to analyze the cartoon, “Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot?” Have students interpret the meaning and explain how examining primary and secondary sources about women’s suffrage helped them understand the cartoon.




Formal Culminating Assessment— Teacher

Examine students’ timelines and listen to their interpretation of the cartoon. Assess students’ ability to analyze resources and evaluate how well they communicate and support their views.



Procedures and Learning ExperiencesAsking students to think about and apply the content.

Activity Three: Analyzing Political Cartoons


I. Exploring How Citizens Can Stay Informed

  1. Explain to students that our representative democracy is based on the notion that ordinary people have the right and responsibility to be involved in their governance. If we want our representatives to do their job well, we must keep informed of current issues, analyze what is being presented by the media, and form and support our own opinions.

  2. As a class, brainstorm ways citizens can become more informed about issues before committing to a viewpoint. Students may say that citizens can gather information from newspapers, the Internet, television, or radio.

  3. Take a poll to find out how students prefer to learn about current issues. Have students explain why they prefer some sources of information over others.

  4. Guide students in considering the differences among resources. Discuss how the same issues or events could be presented in different ways.




II. Analyzing News Sources

  1. Write the following questions on the board:

  • What is at issue?

  • Who are the participants on different sides of the issue or conflict? What are their different proposals in attempting to resolve the issue or conflict?

  • Where is the issue or conflict taking place?

  • For how long has this been an issue?

  • Why do the different sides have different ways of solving the issue or conflict? Do the different sides want to use different means of arriving at the same result, or are their goals different?


  1. Tell students that when reading or analyzing news sources, it is helpful to answer these questions.

  2. Divide students into groups of four. Duplicate or distribute The Moorpark Enterprise. Explain to students that this newspaper was published during the Dust Bowl. Have students quickly explain what they know about the Dust Bowl. If needed, have them skim a history textbook to get some background information about the Dust Bowl.

  3. Ask each group to read, “The Farmer’s Corner” from The Moorpark Enterprise and answer the questions written on the board. Invite groups to share their answers with the class.

  4. Tell students that every source is biased in some way. News sources tell us only what the creator of the document thought happened, or perhaps only what the creator wants us to think happened. Guide students in considering how to detect bias in news sources by exploring the following online resources with them:

  • University of Michigan’s News Bias Explored

  • University of Washington’s Detecting Bias in the News

  1. Have groups examine The Moorpark Enterprise for bias.

  2. As a class, generate a list of issues students are interested in. Have each group choose one issue and learn more about this issue by examining four different news sources. Students should examine news sources for several days.

  3. Have groups write a paper in which they explain the issue they examined, discuss the opposing viewpoints about the issue, describe any factual discrepancies among the news sources, and discuss whether a particular source influenced their opinion.

Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Walk around the classroom while students are working in small groups and assess students’ ability to analyze news sources and detect bias.



.


Formal Teacher Assessment:
Assess papers and evaluate student’s ability to analyze issues and formulate their own opinions.




III. Evaluating Differing Opinions in Political Cartoons


  1. Explain to students that one way to learn about differing sides of an issue is to examine political cartoons. Political cartoons can show opposing viewpoints of the same issue.

  2. Quickly review the persuasive techniques that political cartoonists often use by going over The Cartoon Analysis Guide with students. Then show students “Election Day!” and “Uncle Sam (as "Public Opinion") Embracing Nurse. . .

  3. Tell students that both of these cartoons were created during the women’s suffrage movement.

  4. As a class, analyze each cartoon. Ask:

  • What is the cartoon saying?

  • What persuasive techniques did the cartoonist use?

  • What, if any, action is being advocated?

  • How well did the cartoonist portray the main point of the cartoon?

  • Which cartoon did you find more persuasive? Why?



  1. Divide the class into small groups of four, and give each group a copy of two to four different newspapers. Have each group find the political cartoons located in the opinion or editorial section of the newspaper.

  2. Ask each group to analyze two cartoons about the same issue and summarize the cartoonists’ opinions about the issue. Then have students formulate their own opinion about the issue and raise questions that they might need to research in order to develop a more fully-informed view.

  3. Invite groups to share their analysis of the cartoon, discuss what their current views are on the topic, and share questions they need to research to become more fully-informed.

  4. Have each student research the issues depicted in the group’s political cartoon and write one paragraph explaining how background information caused them to confirm or modify their initial view, and why. Ask students to make a list of the sources they used to help them become informed.



  5. Ask students to share the results of their research and discuss various ways that people can become more informed about issues before committing to a viewpoint.

Ongoing Assessment: Informal Teacher Assessment

Teacher Informal
Assess students’ ability to analyze each side of an argument with reasonable support.


Formal Teacher Assessment:
Assess the reasonableness of the original view and the explanation students provide for retaining or modifying their initial view.

IV. Understanding Political Cartoons




  1. [ONLINE] Tell students that political cartoons often create cartoons about how Congress works. These cartoons often influence people’s opinions about the legislative branch. Have students analyze cartoons that address some common criticisms of Congress and begin to formulate their own views about Congress. Ask students to complete the online activity: Analyzing Political Cartoons. Note: If you do not have access to the computer lab, duplicate and distribute the printable version of this activity.

  2. Before students begin, introduce the process to them. Tell students they must first select one cartoon. Then read the prompts listed in each bubble aloud and make sure students understand what is being asked. Explain that in order to enter their answers to the prompt, they must first click on the bubble. Another box will appear. Students can then type their response. When they are done, they must click on the “Save and Close” button. After students respond to all the prompts, they should click on the “Save” button located at the top of the screen.


Formal Culminating Assessment—

(Teacher) Examine each student’s response and assess his or her understanding of the cartoon. Evaluate the student’s ability to effectively communicate and support his or her views about the artistic style and persuasiveness of the cartoon.



Procedures and Learning ExperiencesAsking students to think about and apply the content.

Activity Four: Expressing Political Views
Currently Under Development

Procedures and Learning ExperiencesAsking students to think about and apply the content.

Culminating Activity: Creating Your Own Political Cartoon
Currently Under Development

Lesson Review


Lead students in an extensive debriefing of the information and skills they gained from this unit. Questioning strategies should prompt reflective thinking—specifically, encouraging responses to why, how, and what. Include questions that require students to apply their knowledge to real-world or current-event situations. Some examples are provided to help you begin your classroom discussion. Select as many or as few as your time and situation allows.

Analysis and Evaluation—Lesson Content


  1. What rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment?

  2. How do the provisions of the First Amendment relate to the role of the cartoonist and the role of citizens?

  3. How can people learn about issues so they can develop informed views?

  4. Why is it important to express your political views?

  5. What are different ways to express your political views?

Analysis and Evaluation—Information Literacy


  1. What persuasive features do most political cartoons have?

  2. Where can you find information to help you understand the historical background of a political cartoon as well as the background of current issues?

  3. Why are political cartoons an effective way of communicating ideas about government?

  4. Why is it important to be able to evaluate the meaning of political cartoons?

Lesson Reflection

Knowledge, Comprehension, and Analysis


The following prompts may be used as a written quiz or a class discussion.


  1. What personal and political rights are granted to citizens in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

  2. Why is it important for citizens to communicate their views with Members of Congress?

  3. How can citizens become informed and communicate and support their views?

  4. How do political cartoonists use artistic techniques to persuade others?

  5. What persuasive features do most political cartoons have?

  6. How can citizens determine whether or not criticisms of Congress are valid?

Synthesis and Application


Ask students to look through newspapers or conduct a search on the Internet and find two political cartoons that address the same issue. Have students analyze both cartoons and write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the cartoonists’ differing views and persuasive strategies. Ask students to write another paragraph describing their own position on the issue and the cartoon they most agree with, and defending their point of view.


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