Political Cartoon Analysis

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The political cartoon Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Freesoiler was a lithograph published by Harper’s Weekly, a periodical that published columns, cartoons, and stories relating to current events (McCollister). John L. Magee, an artist and lithographer that created many satirical political illustrations created the cartoon in 1856 during a time when political tensions between the proslavery and antislavery movement was reaching its peak, a presidential election that could define the future of the expansion of slavery was at the political front, and the diving views between two halves of the country were setting the precedent for a civil war. The cartoon lays is an attack on the Democratic party as it depicts a bearded “freesoiler” being…show more content…
The Knights of the Golden Circle had the main political and economic goal of creating a prosperous, pro-slavery Southern Kingdom encompassing the shape of a circle from their proposed capital at Havana, Cuba that extended to the reaches of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and the Southern States of the United States. The plan also called for Mexico to be divided into fifteen new slave states - shifting the congressional balance in favor of slavery. The years between 1849 and 1861 saw the United States’ increasing involvement in Central America and the Carribean post the Mexican-American War and as Democrats had controlled the majority of the political climate between 1844-1860, the idea of expansion of slavery beyond the continental United States had reached the forefront of the Democratic agenda: “[the] U.S. Government officials attempted to acquire territorial possessions in [Central America and the Caribbean] … [in addition to] private citizens (known as “filibusterers”)…show more content…
The cartoon depicts presidential nominee James Buchanan and Democratic senator Lewis Cass holding a freesoiler to the “Democratic Platform.” This is in reference to James Buchanan’s political campaign platform of the expansion of slavery, in line with the rest of the Democratic agenda. The election of 1856 was an American Presidential election held Nov. 4, 1856 in which Democrat James Buchanan defeated Republican John C. Frémont with 174 electoral votes to Frémont’s 114; also in the election featured former president Millard Fillmore who only received 8 votes (Pallardy). This election was an unusually heated campaign as it occured at the height of the pro-slavery and anti-slavery movement that had essentially split the country in half. Republican John C. Frémont condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, campaigning against the the pro-slavery movement and the expansion of slavery, while Democrat James Buchanan campaigned against the “extremist” Republicans whose victory he warned would lead to civil war. The Democrats endorsed the “popular sovereignty” approach to slavery expansion that was used in the Kansas-Nebraska act. Their platform stated that new territories should decide themselves whether to be slave or free by popular vote; however, anti-slavery northerners feared that this result in the expansion of slavery further westward, a major fear of the Republican party. The Republican
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