Political Cartoons - Summary

Political cartoons poke fun at national leaders and the laws they pass. These satirical cartoons appear in newspapers, books, magazines and online.

Artists especially like to use caricatures to make their point. Depicting current governmental issues, they focus on political stupidity and inane public policies and actions. No subject is off limits to these artistic viewpoints.

The U.S. National Archives and the Library of Congress maintain collections of famous political cartoons. At the Library of Congress, particularly, we find the work of Herb Block, a noted political-cartoonist.

Publishing his work in the Washington Post, Herb Block - or Herblock, to use his pen name - begins his long, prolific career during the Great Depression. Political blunders of political leaders make his job easy at a difficult time in America. Block’s cartoons highlight excesses in government, and governmental leaders, portraying numerous issues in a humorous light.

From Hoover’s “working vacations,” to Truman’s issues with Southerners, Block disregards how presidents view his work. In his opinion, Eisenhower had poor leadership regarding desegregation, Kennedy pushed for excessive legislation and Nixon's response to Watergate harmed the country. The federal government, under Herblock scrutiny, is often seen as a wasteful spender.

In the 1960s, numerous Block cartoons feature civil rights, smoking, war and poverty. Many political leaders take offense, as Block’s career grows, but the artist follows his own heart. He doesn’t spare himself, ridiculing the cartoon-creator as a man wearing a hat which lights up whenever he gets a new idea.

In the 90s, although Clinton’s focus is balancing the nation’s budget, that accomplishment - in Herblock’s cartoons - takes a backstage to the President’s more amorous activities.  In spite of his own role in Block’s cartoons, President Clinton awards the famous American artist a Medal of Freedom.

After a 74-year career, Herb Block dies at 91, never wavering from his frank and “in-your-face” approach. 

In this story, meet the man who consistently reminded public servants that they serve the public, not themselves. Examine some of his many cartoons which he left in the care of the Library of Congress. Learn how he lived his life, culminating in a fortune which is now being used to help poor people.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Jan 09, 2017

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"Political Cartoons" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2007. Jul 17, 2018.
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