This Indiana University website is a fine online resource of political cartoon history with examples as far back as the Colonial Era. Abraham Lincoln depicted as a monkey is always a crowd pleaser.

monkey

Every time I think cartoonists are rude of late, I just have a look back at those polite and gracious days of yore. Crikey.

Some years back, I won a government grant to study American popular culture. It was a thrill to get to go into the bowels of the Library of Congress and look at cartoons stored carefully in the vaults, in archival boxes, covered in tissue paper. There were Thomas Nast originals, breathtaking to see up close.

There were also some vile cartoons about the sex life of Marie Antoinette. These vicious cartoons and the misinformation spread in them helped fuel the hatred of the peasants during the French Revolution.

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