Harper’s Weekly was one of the most influential publications in the United States from the Civil War through the early 1900s, influencing elections and tackling the stories of the nation with drawings that were both witty and at times over the top. This most definitely was the Internet, Twitter, and social media of its day.
This drawing is one such cartoon of thousands. This piece is racist, undoubtedly, given the examples. But then again, the United States comes out looking vicious and, well, remarkably consistent with the long view of history in mind. You can judge yourself.
A friend of mine who collected antiques had purchased and framed this, and I photographed it, mainly because of how the artist captured the way Americans, English, and French resolve their differences. Do take a look the amazingly rich archive of this publication to see how many of the toughest issues of the time were addressed, including slavery, the conquest of the West, and immigration. For example, here’s a drawing of the famous anti-Chinese riots in my home city, Seattle.
Click on the image to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.