Analyzing Political Cartoons
Text Version

Visual Description: This is a political cartoon of Abraham Lincoln with five colorful circles: yellow, red, blue, orange and purple. They sit on different parts of the image. The yellow circle is in the bottom left corner of the cartoon, next to the caption. The red circle is next to a bird in a tree, looking at Lincoln. The blue circle is on Lincoln’s leg, drawing attention to his pants. The orange circle is at Lincoln’s feet, next to a very small dog. The purple circle is on Lincoln’s shoulder, drawing attention to his large size.

Yellow Circle Title: Labeling
Yellow Circle Text: The cartoonist labels this image, calling Lincoln a “sportsman upset by the recoil of his own gun.” A sportsman hunts animals.

Red Circle Title: Irony
Red Circle Text: The bird is labeled “C.S.A.,” which stands for the Confederate States of America. Lincoln was leading the fight against the C.S.A (the South). Lincoln shoots at the bird, but the bird is not hurt. Ironically, Lincoln falls because his gunshot was too strong for him.

Blue Circle Title: Analogy
Blue Circle Text: Lincoln is dressed as an Irish sportsman (hunter) in knee breeches. The cartoonist uses Lincoln’s clothing to compare the Civil War to a hunting trip.

Orange Circle Title: Symbolism
Orange Circle Text: Secretary of War William Stanton is shown as a dog. This shows that he is being controlled by Lincoln.

Purple Circle Title: Exaggeration
Purple Circle Text: Lincoln is much larger in this cartoon than Secretary of War William Stanton. This shows that Lincoln has a bigger role in the war than Stanton does.