Category Archives: Fall 2015

Blog posts created by the students in Angela Nonaka’s Fall 2015 class

The Texas Miracle

Rick perry dressed as Jesus appears to walk on water. He is actually being held up by people below the water with education cuts, uninsured, and minimum-wage workers  on their shirts.
Cartoonist John Cole mocks Rick Perry’s attempts to keep Texas afloat.

 

            The Texas Miracle, by John Cole is a political cartoon mocking Texas Governor Rick Perry for his comments on the well being of Texas and his presidential candidacy. It shows a man wearing a white robe and sandals with the word Perry on his robe. He appears to be walking on water, but directly under the surface are children and men holding him up. The people underneath Perry have “education cuts”, “uninsured”, and “Minimum wage workers” written on their shirts (Cole). The cartoon implies that Gov. Perry is not performing any miracles; he is both physically and metaphorically stepping on the groups of people underneath him. The Texas Miracle is similar to the John Knott cartoon, We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, in that the subjects in the people depicted are in water, and this water is oppressing them. The “storm” that Knott used as an analogy for The Great Depression could also be parallel to the flood that Noah and his family escaped in the bible. However in The Texas Miracle the population was unable to escape the flood because of an ignorant deity.

The accompanying editorial, Walking on Water talks about Perry’s recent presidential candidacy, and why he appeals to the “mad-as-heck right-wing base”. The authors also talk about the not-so-miraculous Texas miracle (Editorial Team). The miracle that Perry claims to have caused is just Texas continuing to profit off of a new way to drill for oil called fracking, which harvests the oil through horizontal fractures and drilling (Krauss). The editorial also comments on how well the housing district is doing, again emphasizing that this was not Perry’s doing, “Much of what Perry lays claim to is not the result of his governance, but existed well before he took office.”

You may recognize the Phrase “Texas miracle” from President George W. Bush’s two thousand presidential campaign and his “No child Left Behind” education reform act (Leung). The act was plan to make teachers accountable for their students’ grades, and required standardized testing for all students, while attempting to lower drop out rates in Houston especially. The program had great success in the first year but it was too good to be true. A vice principal at Sharpstown High School, found there were no drop-outs in the two thousand one two thousand two school year, when in fact there were four hundred and sixty two drop outs. The system had made a code for when a student dropped out it was programmed as a transfer or other acceptable reasons, so the miracle was just a lie. Just like Bush, Perry took advantage of the natural strength of Texas and used it for his own benefit. “According to The American Statesman, almost half of the state’s job growth came in the education, health care, and government sectors”, but when the state was faced with a twenty seven million dollar deficit Perry took four billion from K-12 schools. Already suffering as one of the least educated states, Perry stepped on education so that Texas would have less debt, and Texas suffered for it.

Texas’ population was been growing more rapidly than any other state from nineteen ninety to two thousand eleven this is in part due to the oil boom, but Perry found a way to make this benefit him (Plumer). Perry brags that Texas has a low unemployment rate but in fact at the time it was just a tenth lower than the national average, and the majority of those workers are working for minimum wage, which means that they have little or no insurance from their job (Meyerson). To add onto that Perry Doesn’t would prefer the states control of minimum wage and opposes the increase of minimum wage, claiming to be protecting the small businesses (Selby). At this time Texas was also the most uninsured state in the country, with twenty six percent of the population uninsured, Rick Perry still resisted universal healthcare. Perry said “They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance”, which may be the case, but this works well with Perry’s views on minimum wage and his refusal to increase the Medicaid (Benen). You see if Texans make less than four thousand five hundred dollars a year they can apply for Medicaid, but if they make less than eleven thousand six hundred dollars a year they are too poor to buy insurance for themselves (Damico). This is called the Medicaid expansion gap, and Rick Perry walked all over the people in this gap just to make the state more profitable.

A few parallels can be made between The Texas miracle and We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, the major one being the water. In both cartoons the water is rising, because Rick Perry has no intention of changing his policies and will continue to take money from education. The water is also rising on the two business men while they converse in the storm, which was also brought on by the government’s inflation during the twenties. We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms could also have a religious aspect to it, where Herbert Hoover, who was blamed for The Great Depression, could be seen as an ignorant deity. As he told the public over and over that the depression would pass, doing little or nothing to help the floundering public, while the floodwaters continue to rise leaving the population without an ark. In both cartoons the public is the victim of the governments poor choices and both cartoonists depict their suffering through water.

The Texas Miracle by John Cole is mocking Rick Perry’s foolish attempts to take credit for the relative low amount of debt that Texas is in. The cartoon and editorial both ridicule him for refusing to help those beneath him, calling him a lone star blustering bible thumper. The Texas Miracle illustrates just how unlike Jesus Rick Perry truly is, and what lengths he is willing to go to in order to make a profit for the great state of Texas.

Works Cited

Benen, Steve. “Perry Boasts about Texas’ Uninsured Rate.” MSNBC. NBCUniversal News Group, 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Cole, John. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Time Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Damico, Oct 19 2016 | Rachel Garfield and Anthony. “The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States That Do Not Expand Medicaid.” Kaiser Family Foundation – Health Policy Research, Analysis, Polling, Facts, Data and Journalism. WordPress.com, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Editorial Team. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Times Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Krauss, Clifford. “Shale Boom in Texas Could Increase U.S. Oil Output.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 May 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Leung, Rebecca. “The ‘Texas Miracle'” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 6 Jan. 2004. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Meyerson, Harold. “The Sad Facts behind Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

New World Encyclopedia. “Texas.” Texas – New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 20 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Pallardy, Richard. “Rick Perry.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Plumer, Brian. “Breaking down Rick Perry’s ‘Texas Miracle'” The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Selby, W. Gardner. “In 2014, Rick Perry Saying He Opposes Federal Government Setting Minimum Wage.” @politifact. Politifact.com, 30 May 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

 

Russia Moves On Crimea

 

russia-moves-on-crimea
Cartoonist John Knott highlights the tension between Russia and Ukraine on territorial disputes over Crimea.

In Dave Granlund’s political cartoon, Russia Moves on Crimea, Crimea is shown to be in a dire situation following the Ukraine Crisis in 2013 which provided Russia advantages in claiming Crimea by making it appear as if Russia was able to assist Crimea in the middle of the crisis by annexing it. Russia is depicted as a bear, symbolizing the stereotype of Russia being “fierce and angry” and related to “frost” and “despotism” (Khrustalyov). In addition, Crimea is portrayed as a fish, the water as the Ukraine, and the dangerous features of the wave as the crisis. The political cartoon revolves around a political “tug-of-war” between Russia and Ukraine over who should rightfully have Crimea as a part of their nation (Ellicott). Although not a communist establishment anymore ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia still sought to expand, not ideologically as it did with communism, but territorially to grow as a larger superpower, which explains the reason why Russia sought to claim the Crimean Peninsula , an area that once belonged to it (Ellicott). At the time the cartoon was published on Granlund’s website, March 3rd, 2014, Crimea belonged to the Ukraine, yet Crimea was already leaning towards Russia since it seemed as if they could save the country from the crisis, hence the bear saying, “I’m saving you from drowning!” Furthermore, the grayish color tone of the cartoon highlights the seriousness of how the “tug-of-war” over Crimea was.

The Ukraine Crisis occurred as a result of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an association agreement with the European Union (EU) in November 2013 (Ellicott). Yanukovych was pro-Russian and the decision was made as a response to Russian threats to disrupt trade in order to keep Ukraine-Russian trade stable since Russians didn’t want the Ukraine to align more with Europe (Ellicott). However, it led to pro-EU protests in the Ukraine, which further led to pro-Russian influences triggering more “violent demonstrations” in the country (Ellicott). After failing to disperse these events, the Ukraine parliament sided with the protesters and voted Yanukovych out of office, after “four months of civil unrest and political deadlock between demonstrators and Yanukovych’s government” (Jalabi). Prior to this event, Ukraine-Russian relations were fairly calm since the two countries were trade partners and shared the similarity of once being a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Ellicott). However, as a result of Yanukovych being ousted for avoiding EU relations and trying to create closer ties with Russia, Russia reacted with “immediate hostility to the new pro-Western leadership” in the Ukraine, causing more tensions between the two countries. In addition, pro-Russian troops stormed into Crimea, influencing the peninsula into wanting to be a part of Russia as it was once Russian’s territory and already carried several pro-Russian citizens (Ellicott). It can be seen in Granlund’s cartoon that Crimea relied on Russia to rescue the country as the fish fearfully looks back at the wave representing the Ukraine Crisis and had no choice but to let the bear save it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that people of Crimea wanted to join Russia as a result of their repression by the government that “took power when Ukraine’s unpopular President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev”, the capital of Ukraine, in February of 2014 (US Official News). His claim proved to be true as Crimea held a referendum on March 16, 2014 that had 95 percent of voters favoring to secede from Ukraine and to be annexed by Russia with an 80 percent voter turnout (Schofield).

As a result, on March 18, 2014, Russia officially signed a treaty with Crimea to have it be annexed as a part of Russian territory once again (Ellicott). Granlund’s political cartoon displays this annexation as the bear saving the fish from drowning in the water, parallel to Russia saving Crimea from Ukraine.  However, the bear’s sharp teeth symbolized the force that Russia pressed on Crimea before the annexation. Russia approved military intervention and seized several areas in Crimea by force to counteract Ukraine’s military stationed in Crimea (Jalabi).

The political cartoon Russia Moves On Crimea by Granlund parallels with John Knott’s political cartoon, On Fertile Soil, over the vulnerability of China to Russian influence in the country in 1931. Both cartoons depict the idea of Russian expansion, even though Granlund’s cartoon primarily focused on territorial issues rather than ideological ones like in Knott’s cartoon over communism. The Russian government in Granlund’s cartoon differs from the government in Knott’s cartoon as time progressed and Soviet Union had fallen on December 26, 1991 as a result of communist leaders being incompetent and several countries overthrowing the communist government in their territories (Stock). After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its “successor state” in 1991 and pushed towards “democratic and economic reforms” and became more of a democratic government in 2014 as Russian officials were eventually chosen by elections (Ellicott). Even though not a communist country anymore as it was in 1931, Russia in 2014 sought to expand its territories by claiming areas such as Crimea to further build the power of its nation.

Further similarities of Knott and Granlund’s cartoons include how both foreshadowed events that were controversial at the time their cartoons were published. Knott’s cartoon predicted that communism will take over China as a result of Russian influence and the country’s unrest which proved to be true as the People’s Republic of China established a communist government influenced by the Soviet Union in 1949 (Hyer). Furthermore, at the time of Granlund’s cartoon, the debate over the annexation of Crimea by Russia was already leaning towards annexation as a result of the unrest that occurred in Ukraine in 2013 that affect Crimea’s stance in the middle of the “tug-of-war” (Ellicott). Grandlund’s political cartoon that displayed hints of Crimea wanting to join Russia was created before Crimea’s referendum and Russia’s annexation, foreshadowing these events that happened only a few days after the publication of this cartoon.

Russia Moves On Crimea by Dave Granlund summarizes the Crimean annexation that resulted from Russia seeking expansion in territorial powers while On Fertile Soil by John Knott displayed expansion of communist ideology as Soviet influence was depicted in China. After discovering the communist system was a failure after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia adopted a more democratic government and went under many reforms for the economy, constitution, banking, labor, and private property (Ellicott). To further increase their growth as a nation, Russia decided to claim back the land that was once theirs; the Crimean Peninsula, which played a large role in providing Russia access to the Black Sea (Ellicott). After incorporating a more stable type of government, Russia now primarily focuses on developing as a more powerful federation through territorial expansion rather than revolving its nation around a single ideology and expanding it.

“China.” Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2013, edited by Karen Ellicott, vol. 1, Gale, 2012, pp. 489-521. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

“Emperors, 1800–1912.” Encyclopedia of Modern China, edited by David Pong, vol. 1, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009, pp. 505-509. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Granlund, Dave. “Russia Moves On Crimea.” Cartoon. DaveGrandlund.com. DaveGrandlund.com, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 

Hyer, Eric. “China–Russia Relations.” Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002, pp. 15-21. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Jalabi, Raya. “Crimea’s Referendum to Leave Ukraine: How Did We Get Here?” The Guardian. The Guardian, 13 Mar. 2013. Web.

Khrustalyov, Rossomahin. “Russia Medvedev: Origins Imaging (XVI-XVIII Centuries).” Center for Ethnic and National Research ISU. Ivanovo State University, n.d. Web. 

“One Year After the Annexation, a Darkness Falls Over Crimea.” US Official News. Plus Media Solutions, 19 Mar. 2015. Web.

Schofield, Matthew. “Crimea Votes for Secession.” The Tampa Tribune. The Tribune Co., 17 Mar. 2014. Web. 

On Fertile Soil

on-fertile-soil
A Chinese man under Soviet influence is shown spreading seeds onto Chinese soil, symbolizing the fertility of Russian Bolshevism in China as a result of chaos, famine, and rebellion facilitating the process.

The political cartoon On Fertile Soil by John Knott illustrates the vulnerability of China to Russian Bolshevism as a result of continuous unrest, devastating famines, and frequent uprisings during the 1930s of the country. The cartoon published in the Dallas Morning News on May 5th, 1931 depicts “Chaos”, “Famine”, and “Rebellion” as China’s soil that helped plant the seeds of “Bolshevism”, hence the title On Fertile Soil. Additionally, the man holding the bowl of seeds and spreading them onto the soil represents a Chinese man that has been “Sovietized” by Russian influences (Dallas Morning News). According to the Dallas Morning News editorial accompanying the cartoon, China’s Fifth of May, the Chinese Nationalist Party sought to reorganize China’s government and stabilize the country before organized oppositions with relations to Soviet Russia are able to induce a period of “rebellion and discord” which, in combination with China’s famine and financial depression during the time, would allow Russian propaganda an advantage in reaching its goal of “Sovietizing” China. Furthermore, the Nanking Government in China acknowledged the presence of “major foreign powers”, such as Japan, Great Britain, and the United States, and their “extraterritorial privileges” as a potential threat to the nation (Dallas Morning News).  Japan aggression, especially in 1931, led to the Chinese seeking aid from the U.S. since Japan was a mutual enemy (Phillips). The U.S. supplied China the aid the nation needed; however, the U.S.’s first priority was defeating Germany and as the Nationalist Party became more concerned with “eradicating” the Chinese Communist Party that rose instead of “confronting the Japanese occupation”,  the U.S. assistance to the Nationalists would decrease and eventually die out when the Nationalists are defeated by the Communists (Phillips). President of the Nationalist Party, Chiang Kai-shek, strongly opposed communism and desired to force Soviets and other Communist troops out of China, which in turn led to the protracted conflicts between the Nationalist Party and the Chinese Communist Party (Weigelin-Schwiedrzik).

Unrest in China during this time resulted from the mixture of foreign invasion from Japan, political instability, and economical depression, along with the other two issues depicted in Knott’s cartoon, famine and rebellion. With the Nationalist Party weakness being the north, Japan was able to invade Manchuria without being contested, leading to the beginning of World War II in China in 1931 (Calkins). Due to Japan pushing to conquer Chinese territories, the people of China would have to deal with the immense pressure of war in China, resulting in more chaos in the country. As Herbert Gibbons stated in his editorial Unrest In China And Its Meaning For Other Nation, Bolshevist propagandists held the benefit of gaining the Chinese citizens’ trusts by acting as the cure for the “economic ills” and stability of China during its time of anarchy and discord. The Chinese man wearing the Soviet cap in Knott’s cartoon symbolizes this idea of Soviet influence and communism being dispersed in China, foreshadowing the creation of the Chinese Soviet Republic in late 1931. However, with President Chiang leading the Nationalist Party, communists were ”killed or driven to exile” to combat the “Moscow Propaganda”, but even then the idea of communism would still exist even after this forceful tactic in the form of the Chinese Communist Party (Weigelin-Schwiedrzik & Gibbons).

Famine was a major recurring theme in the nineteenth and twentieth century of China (Pong). The diseases that occurred around the date of publication of Knott’s cartoon were ones that were the result of natural disasters, such as the flooding of the Yangzi River in 1931, leading to an outbreak of diseases and the destruction of several fields and homes in China (Pong). As a result, the people of China had to deal with widespread epidemics and destitution from the lack of food and financial instability due to the loss of crops and property. Another cause of famine was population growth in China because population was seen as a “major burden” to “agricultural economy and the natural environment” when population “outstrips the ability of land to produce food” (Pong). The calamitous effects of famine led to fear and agitation in China, allowing Bolsheviks to take advantage of their adversity and plant their “seed” on China’s soil, as depicted in Knott’s cartoon.

Since China’s government has been unstable until 1949 when the People’s Republic of China formed from the Chinese Communist Party, there was a great deal of conflicts between the Nationalist Party and the Communist party beforehand. In fact, a Chinese Civil War erupted between the two parties from 1927 to 1949 and China’s government became “lost” in this era (Miller). The war began after Chiang of the Nationalist Party was “no longer willing to work with Communists because he did not trust the Soviet influence [the Communist Party] heeded”, leading to him severing the “informal alliance” with the Communist Party in 1925 (Miller). As a result, the Communists attempted to overthrow the Nationalist government, yet failed, which in turn led to the Nationalists counterattacking, causing the civil war and several conflicts thereon after (Miller). Since Soviet influence is still pouring into China during this time, more and more Chinese citizens would favor Bolshevism. As mentioned before, the Chinese Soviet Republic was formed in 1931, in the middle of this civil war. Along with leading the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong was the Central Executive Committee of this republic as well; however, he would soon have to abandon this republic as a result of its decline in 1934 (Weigelin-Schwiedrzik). He would continue leading the Communist Party, which would brutally defeat the Nationalist Party while they were cut off their food supply, leading to the Nationalists surrendering to the Communists, ending the war, and the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

As Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party to victory in the civil war and established the People’s Republic of China in 1949, initiating the Chinese Communist Revolution and proving to be true that communist took over China after all (Calkins). Following this establishment, China and Russia signed a “treaty of friendship and alliance” and China would follow the “Soviet development model” for the next decade, developing the Sino-Soviet Alliance in the 1950s (Hyer).  Several Russian advisers were sent to China in order to train Chinese students and some students were also sent to study in the Soviet Union in order to spread Bolshevism (Hyer). However, China eventually grew resentment of “Soviet domination, ideological differences between the two countries, and boundary disputes” which resulted in the Sino-Soviet split in 1960, and a border war in 1969 (Hyer).  The Soviet Union indeed played a large role in spreading communism in China, but Mao Zedong eventually branched off of Bolshevism ideology and incorporated his own view of communism in China with the People’s Republic of China.

The political cartoon On Fertile Soil by John Knott in 1931 acted as a warning to China during its instability and vulnerability to Bolshevik influence. It foreshadowed that communism would come to rise and take over the Nationalist government due to the presence of Soviets in China, spreading their ideology while China was lost in the middle of chaos, famine, and rebellion. Soviet influence was deemed as successful as Mao Zedong sought to learn from the Soviet Union and dispersed communism in China. Even though the Sino-Soviet Alliance experienced a split in the 1960s, Knott was able to foreshadow the course of China and the presence of the Soviet Union in the country in the next 30 years with his political cartoon.

Calkins, Laura M. “Chinese Revolutions.” Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450, edited by Thomas Benjamin, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, pp. 221-224. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

“China’s Fifth of May.” Editorial. Dallas Morning News [Dallas, Texas] 5 May 1931, sec. 1: 16. Print.

“Famine Since 1800.” Encyclopedia of Modern China, edited by David Pong, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009, pp. 14-19. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 

Gibbons, Herbert A. “UNREST IN CHINA AND ITS MEANING FOR OTHER NATIONS.” New York Times (1923-Current file)Jan 31, New York, N.Y., 1932.

Hyer, Eric. “China–Russia Relations.” Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002, pp. 15-21. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 

Knott, John. “On Fertile Soil.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News [Dallas, Texas] 5 May 1931, sec. 1: 16. Print.

Miller, Esmorie. “Chinese Civil War (1927–1949).” Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment, edited by Jonathan F. Vance, 2nd ed., Grey House Publishing, 2006, pp. 74-77. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Phillips, Steven. “China–United States Relations.” Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002, pp. 23-28. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Susanne. “CCP-Controlled Areas.” Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, edited by Daniel Leese, Brill, 2009, pp. 92-94. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section Four: China Vol. 20. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Militarist Nation, Coming and Going

knott-cartoon

 

Amid shifting political powers and tense foreign relations of the early 1930’s, both France and Japan faced the challenge of balancing their budgets between the economic depression and the necessity of increased military spending. An editorial, written by an unknown author in 1933 in the Dallas Morning Newspaper, “Troublesome Budgets”, explicates the larger political stakes at play. It reveals the French government, urged by Premier Daladier, has increased taxes to offset the budget deficit and that while the Japanese Parliament is not currently in session, they will soon face the same dilemma. Frances is pressured to give out loans to the Japanese territory, Manchukuo, and that Japan is under pressure to forge a diplomatic agreement with the Soviet Union. Due to the debts and future responsibilities of both these countries, they cannot truly afford a full-scale war without assured bankruptcy, so they must remain open to political agreements with Germany and other potentially hostile nations. While admitting the concerning nature of these events, the author is optimistic, as these concessions may lead to the prevention of a massive, global war (Troublesome Budgets).

In the accompanying political cartoon, Militarist Nation, Coming and Going, John Francis Knott, a prominent cartoonist of the era, satirizes the precarious political situation of the French government in 1933, challenged with maintaining military strength in the wake of the devastation of World War I and facing the economic downturn of the Great Depression (Knott). The illustration depicts the front and back of a French soldier representing the two opposing sides of the interwar French government. His front, a crisp and well-maintained uniform with the words “Millions For Armament” on the ammunition pouches, is the paragon of military ideals, the image France wanted to convey to Germany as part of their defensive mentality. The back, however, is in tatters, covered with patches stating “taxes”, “unbalanced budget”, “defaulted debts” and “reduced wages”. The implied pacing motion of the soldier could be interpreted as a metaphor for France being on guard, a sentry keeping an eye out for possible warlike advancements by Germany. The soldier is wearing prototypical uniform of the World War I era, complete with an Adrian helmet, made of steel, and only issued to soldiers in heavy combat (Suciu). The defensive nature of the soldier’s uniform, as well as his worried expression is parallel to the apprehensive, tense nature of France during the interwar period. The patches on the uniform represent temporary sacrifices that are meant to fix the holes in the economy. This exposes what is underneath pretense of the supposedly formidable French Armed Forces: a weakened economy and divided populous.

The events leading up to this period in French history are crucial for understanding and interpreting the mentality of the French government and people. The French and global economies were still recovering from the devastation of the first World War, ending in 1918, with a victory by the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States) and the creation of the League of Nations, aimed at preventing another worldwide military conflict. Germany, due to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, was mandated to make war reparations, however because of their ruined economy, were unable to complete the payments, leaving France to fend for themselves, who in turn had to repay war debts to the United States. France had to spend large sums of money on reconstruction to repair the damage to the infrastructure and the ingrained societal systems (Hautcoeur 9). In 1924, taxes were too low to balance the budget, but instead of raising taxes they lowered the interest rate on bonds, which led to a decrease in the purchase of bonds which worsened the recession. In 1926, Prime Minister Raymond Poincare was given nearly absolute power over the economy and repaired by implementing new sales taxes and trimming the fat off the bureaucracy (Beaudry 16). While this left the economy in relatively good shape, the shock of World War I had created a defensive mentality in France. The resulting turmoil led to support for extremist groups and split France into two diametrically opposed, radical political alliances: The National Bloc, the right, who advocated for business, the army and were hellbent on revenge against Germany, and the Cartel des Guaches, a coalition of leftist parties who lobbied for the lower-middle class and were in favor of a foreign policy of security by negotiation.

The differing economic policies of the alignments came into play in 1931, when the Great Depression began to affect France. The Depression was not as consequential in France as it was in the United States; the French economy was mainly self-sufficient and relied on smaller business and local economies (Beaudry 12). The mentality towards depression was different than that of the United States; it was seen as a necessary evil to purge excess money and to send indebted companies, barely staying afloat, to failure. A success of the government was that they maintained a restrictive and procyclical policy, meaning that in a recession, they reduced government spending and increased taxes, which helped them avoid the full implications of the depression (Hautcoeur 7).

In 1933, the year of the cartoon, radicalistic Prime Minister Edouard Daladier, in an effort to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 1920’s, made the argument to Parliament that the augmentation of taxes is needed to offset the necessary military spending (Troublesome Budgets). This request is granted, demonstrating that they have learned from their past economic mistakes, however, in his cartoon, Knott outlines all their new errors. While Parliament is focusing on armament and defensive foreign policy, they are ignoring the crucial implications for their own economy. The largest militaristic expenditure was the Maginot Line, proposed by André Maginot, the French Minister of War, at the cost of 3 billion francs, a tactical defensive perimeter that spanned eighty-seven miles of the German-French border (Wilde). This dismal financial situation left France struggling to maintain insecure political relations and commit to defensive military tactics, while feigning to have the upper hand. Their financial difficulties made them receptive to Japanese and German demands, for treaties and military movements.

The irony in Knott’s cartoon is apparent in that things are not always what they seem on the surface. The title, Militarist Nation, Coming and Going, while fitting the illustration, seems to also imply the inevitable fall of France as an imperialist empire, in part due to its unrealistic budget priorities. Before the first half the 20th century, French was a prominent and influential player on the global stage. However, the two World Wars left the economy, politics and infrastructure of France devastated, and France was never able to return to its former status as a major power.

 

Works Cited

Beaudry, Paul, and Franck Portier. “The French Depression in the 1930s.” Review of Economic Dynamics 5.1 (2002): 73-99. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Hautcoeur, Pierre-Cyrille, and Pierre Sicsic. “Threat of a Capital Levy, Expected Devaluation and Interest Rates in France During the Interwar Period.” SSRN Electronic Journal (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Knott, John. “Militarist Nation, Coming and Going.” Dallas Morning News 19 Oct. 1933, 19th ed., sec. 2: 14. Print.
Kuttner, Robert. “The Economic Maginot Line.” The American Prospect. N.p., 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Suciu, Peter. “The First Modern Steel Combat Helmet: The French ‘Adrian’ – Military Trader.” Military Trader. N.p., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
“Troublesome Budgets.” Editorial. Dallas Morning News 19 Oct. 1933, 19th ed., sec. 2: 14. Print.
Wilde, Robert. “The Maginot Line: France’s Defensive Failure.” About.com Education. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

 

U.S. Military Spending

wolverton-cartoon

In recent decades, the American government has been harshly criticized for their increased military spending at the expense of other public benefits and programs. The 2004 Monte Wolverton cartoon titled “U.S. Military Spending”, mocks this issue, depicting a caricature of George Bush as president, obediently shoveling piles money into the gaping maw of a US military officer, entitled “U.S. Military Spending” that is demanding “FEED ME!” (Wolverton). While this cartoon takes a decisively negative stance on U.S. budget priorities, an argument can be made that it was necessary, as the heightened military spending is in response to a complex and precarious political balance, beginning near the turn of the millennium.

In the 1990’s, President Bill Clinton presided over an unexpected period of economic prosperity and budget surplus. While the United States had recently exited the Cold War, there were no prominent military conflicts, and it was at the height of its imperialistic power, and the nations’ influence was far-reaching and authoritative. However, during George Bush’s presidency, a tragedy occurred. The terrorist group, al-Qaeda coordinated and executed four catastrophic attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and wounded over 6,000 others. Monetarily, they caused over 10 billion dollars in property damage and 3 trillion dollars in total cost to the United States (Bram 2). The September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers fundamentally changed the outlook and temperament of the nation. There was a palpable shift towards anxiety and paranoia in the mindset of the collective American citizenry, and a movement greater defense spending and heightened airline security. Even as early as early as 2016, the history of the culture and actions United States can be divided into ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 9/11 (Butler 4). At the time fear mongering and threats from Middle Eastern nations made it easy to convince the United States population that the military spending was imperative.

The resulting Afghanistan war was a response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, beginning in 2001 when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The purported goal was to remove al-Qaeda from a position of power, by eliminating the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic movement that wanted to implement Sharia law (Santos 148). To date, it remains the longest U.S. military conflict in its history (Kim 16). The following period was a time of strained political and societal tensions, characterized by an increase in government military spending. Following the conflict in Afghanistan, anti-Middle east sentiments carried over into the Iraq war, which began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq and lasted the better part of the next decade as the U.S. remained in the country to destroy the government of Saddam Hussein and oppose the resulting insurgency. In 2003, approval ratings of the war with Iraq were high, as the attacks on the twin towers had renewed patriotism and nationalism, and the public was hungry for revenge. However, as the war dragged on, enthusiasm decreased, and the war, as well as president George Bush, faced widespread criticism. For some, the reasons for entering the war, the supposed existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, were not sufficient (Santos 145). These arguments have merit, as the war was a significant military expenditure, with the total cost estimated to be $1.7 trillion dollars; however, the long term economic effects were estimated to be more than ten times this (Donovan 4).

The contemporary controversy over the U.S. military budget stems from different views about the purpose of the U.S. military. Some believe that our military serves a fundamentally different purpose from that of the armed forces of all other nations, such as that of China and Russia. They believe that the U.S. has and should take on the role of “world police”, that out military’s purpose is to fight terrorism and intervene on the behalf of our allies. For these people, the fact that the United States outpaces all other nations in military expenditures seems logical and necessary. Others however, believe that the U.S. should only enter conflict if it is a direct attack on the United States, by another nation.

In 1933, John Francis Knott, a historically famous political cartoonist published Militarist Nation, Coming and Going, in the Dallas Morning News (Knott). The drawing depicts the front and back of a French World War 1 soldier: the front of the uniform pristine and reading “Millions For Armaments”, while the back is tattered and worn, with patches which portray the problems that the unbalanced budget faces, such as “taxes” and “defaulted debts”. Knott satirizehe duality of the predicament that France faced at the time: having to maintain a facsimile of military strength, while facing economic crisis and outstanding war debts.

In comparing these two cartoons, it is evident that while they share the same subject matter, a criticism of a military overspending in a nations’ budget, the approach taken by each cartoonist is different, to better represent the nation at hand. In Knott’s cartoon, it can be inferred that the French have put up a façade of a strong military and keep their budget constraints and struggling economy under wraps, while the United States is almost unapologetically gluttonous in their military spending, even when the popular opinion it that it is entirely unnecessary. While the French soldier is depicted as strong and well kept, the commander in the Wolverton illustration is cartoonishly obese, implying that the French expenditure was costly, but necessary, while the United States spends out of greed and pride. The cartoon also implies that Bush is an obedient, mindless servant to the military-industrial complex. He simply is shoveling money into its “mouth”, without closely figuring out how much it would cost or paying any attention to balancing the budget. The Wolverton cartoon is more explicit in its intended point than the Knott cartoon, guiding readers towards the rhetorical question “Enough money left for everything else?”, while Knott assumes the reader has the relevant context and can correctly infer the point.

The implications of the French cartoon, as well as their political and economic situation at the time, are much further reaching than may initially be perceived. The French prewar period, prior to World War II, hallmarked by uncertainty and augmented military spending, can be compared to the period of political instability that currently threatens the United States. At the time, the French did not know for certain of the inevitability of the World War II, an event which justified their increased military budget during the interwar period. World War I was denominated “The War to End All Wars”, the worst war that had happened or will happen, and critics of the French budget priorities claimed nothing on this scale could ever happen again. Yet, within 20 years, Germany had once again become an aggressor, sparking the terrible conflict of World War II. The critiques of the current United States budget claim it is preparing for a conflict that will never happen. However, the contemporary United States doesn’t have the benefit of 80 years of hindsight to determine whether their unbalanced budget will be the most advantageous solution for the current predicament. Unprecedented military and cultural instability in the Middle East, as well as political conflict in Europe, is provoking a period of uncertainty, as there is no way to tell whether our nation is heading towards another ruinous global clash or total disarmament. It could also signify the loss of the United States’ status as the dominant global power, just as France lost its political status after the second World War.

Works Cited

Bram, Jason, James Orr, and Carol Rapaport. “Measuring the Effects of the September 11 Attack on New York City.” Economic Policy Review 8.2 (2002): n. pag. Social Science Research Network. 13 Sept. 2005. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Butler, Taryn. “The Media Construction of Terrorism Pre and Post-9/11.” McKendree University Scholars Journal 24 (2015): n. pag. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
Donovan, Jerome Denis, Cheree Topple, Vik Naidoo, and Trenton Milner. “Strategic Interaction and the Iran-Iraq War: Lessons to Learn for Future Engagement?” Digest of Middle East Studies 24.2 (2015): 327-46. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Kim, Youngwan, and Peter Nunnenkamp. “Does It Pay for US-based NGOs to Go to War? Empirical Evidence for Afghanistan and Iraq.” Development and Change 46.3 (2015): 387-414. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Knott, John. “Militarist Nation, Coming and Going.” Dallas Morning News 19 Oct. 1933, 19th ed., sec. 2: 14. Print.
Santos, Maria Helena De Castro, and Ulysses Tavares Teixeira. “The Essential Role of Democracy in the Bush Doctrine: The Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Revista Brasileira De Política Internacional Rev. Bras. Polít. Int. 56.2 (2013): 131-56. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Wolverton, Monte. “Military Spending.” Political Cartoons. Cagle Cartoons, 2004. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Business in Texas

contemp-cartoon
Jack Ohman mocks the policy of lax business regulations which caused the recent West Texas Explosion

 

                Business in Texas, published in the Sacramento Bee, is a political cartoon by Jack Ohman that satirizes the believed benefits of attracting future business to Texas with the promise of limited government regulation. The cartoon depicts a figure without eyes who is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, advocating that “business is booming in Texas” with a backdrop promise of “low taxes and low regs”. In the next panel an explosion takes place right next to Perry which alludes to the factory explosion which took place in West, Texas. Due to promises of low taxes and low regulation, Perry aims to attract potential businesses to Texas to increase the economic prosperity of Texas yet there are unforeseen consequences with the promise of low regulations.

The West Fertilizer Company was one of many businesses that came to Texas due to the lack of regulation. During this time, Governor Perry, pandered to many different companies on how Texas lowered government intervention and regulation which would be perfect for businesses to foster and grow. Attributed in the cartoon as a man with no eyes, Perry seems to be a man who has turned a blind eye towards the consequences of setting such low regulations. Furthermore, Perry’s stature of a small head with a huge body is a familiar symbol of corporate greed or greed in general. Wanting to promote economic prosperity in Texas, Perry will do anything to attract more votes to win reelection. Attracted to this “ideal” situation many businesses set up shop in Texas with the mindset of gaining huge economic profits by cutting corners and dodging usually strict business regulations.

The West Fertilizer Company had already been established in West Texas in 1962 but with the new Governor Perry inspections turned from yearly checks to none. The West Fertilizer Company had problems dating back to 2006 when a citizen filed an ammonia smell complaint (Fernandez) and later the company was fined $7,600 due to failure to file risk management and violations on how it stored anhydrous ammonia. Most recently, in 2011, the facility was fined $5250 after a safety inspection.

The explosion occurred on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The sheer magnitude of the explosion was equivalent to a 2.1 magnitude earthquake and had the force of 10 tons of TNT. The play on words “business is BOOMing in Texas” alludes to the fact that just because business is growing doesn’t mean it is in a healthy way. Ohman, criticizes businesses and the government for allowing these businesses to indulge in such dangerous practices without considering that they could be endangering human lives. At least 15 people died that day and around 160-200 people were injured– most were first responders and firefighters. The blast had flattened homes within a five-block radius (Meyer). The fire that started the explosion was claimed by the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to be arson. Yet there have been many previous cases of burglary due to lax security since ammonia was a key component of methamphetamine.

In the investigation that followed, The West Texas Company was found to have mismanaged their resources, failed to report the contents of the facility, failed to take preventable measures against fire, and the inability of state and local regulatory agencies. The 270 tons of ammonium that were contained in the facility was well over the 400-pound regulation and required the plant to report it to the Department of Homeland Security, yet the plant did report it to the Department of State Health Services. Due to the lack of communication between these two agencies and a report filed that “there was no risk of a fire or an explosion” by the plant, the State didn’t deem the plant a risk. Furthermore, the last full safety inspection was conducted in 1985 (Propublica) – 27 years before the explosion. Governor Rick Perry’s low regulation also allowed homes and schools to be built literally blocks away from these sites due to outdated haphazard zoning policies. In the cartoon, Governor Perry doesn’t seem to be surprised but is rather unfazed at the explosion in the background. Ohman seems to be claiming that Governor Perry knew something like this would happen, almost expecting it, and yet he doesn’t seem to care much even though at least 15 Texas citizens perished.  Furthermore, the proximity of the blast in the cartoon may allude to the fact that these dangerous facilities could be right next to where you live and you never know when you will become a headline.

The issues illustrated in Business in Texas are very similar to those depicted in the political cartoon Spring Comes to East Texas by John Knott, a political cartoonist who worked at the Dallas Morning News. Published on the first day of spring in 1937, Knott’s cartoon portrays a lone figure, deemed to be Persephone, staring forlornly at a backdrop of an innumerable number of graves under a darkening sky.

In 2011 an explosion that rocked West Texas was like the one that devastated New London Texas. In 1937, New London was in a time of economic prosperity very similar to the one being experienced in Texas in the late 21st century due to an influx of businesses. Yet both cartoons portray a type of disaster that befell these two communities. In Business in Texas the tragedy is quite clear, the explosion caused by lax regulations and a blind eye towards those consequences eventually resulted in a factory explosion that killed at least 15 people. Failure to report the amount of possible explosives and disregarding the unforeseen yet possible consequences, the West Texas Plant put everyone around them in danger. On the other hand, in Spring Comes to East Texas, Knott illustrates a picture of death and finality yet includes a deeper symbolic meaning with the picture of Persephone. Persephone, who represents spring and life, is present, yet around her lacks life and the coming of spring. Knott’s portrayal of this scene points a finger at the board members who decided to cut costs and in the end caused the deaths of 294 children and teachers which has put even spring on hold to mourn for this tragedy. Just like the West Texas Plant, the board of directors disregarded the possibility of a gas leak, which could have very likely happened, and continued to proceed as if the lives of the people in their school were insignificant compared to the costs of paying for actual natural gas.

The irony in these two cartoons is that even in present day Texas, 80 some years after the incident, businesses are still cutting corners and reaping the benefits. It seems that throughout this period no one has learned that the cost of letting businesses do whatever they want is too high of a risk. Many people still believe that “businesses can come down here and do pretty much what they want to do, that is the Texas way” (NY Times). Almost a whole decade spanning these two incidents, nothing much has changed which is a worrying trend that history may be waiting to repeat itself again.

Works Cited:

Fernandez, Manny. “Lax Oversight Cited as Factor in Deadly Blast at Texas Plant.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/us/lack-of-oversight-and-regulations-blamed-in-texas-chemical-explosion.html>.

Urbina, Ian, Manny Fernandez, and John Schwartz. “After Plant Explosion, Texas Remains Wary of Regulation.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 May 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/us/after-plant-explosion-texas-remains-wary-of-regulation.html>.

Fernandez, Manny. “Fire That Left 15 Dead at Texas Fertilizer Plant Is Ruled Intentional.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 May 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/us/texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion.html>.

Meyer, Theodoric. “What Went Wrong in West, Texas — and Where Were the Regulators?” ProPublica. N.p., 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <https://www.propublica.org/article/what-went-wrong-in-west-texas-and-where-were-the-regulators>.

Ohman, Jack. “Rick Perry ‘explosion’ Cartoon Published to Make a Point.” Sacbee. Sacramento Bee, 25 Apr. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/jack-ohman/article2577318.html>.

Ohman, Jack. “Business in Texas.” Sacramento Bee 25 Apr. 2013: n. pag. Print.

Spring Comes to Texas

Spring comes to East Texas
John Knott satirizes the New London Explosion of 1937 in the Dallas Morning News.

            Spring Comes to East Texas, published in the Dallas Morning News, is a political cartoon by John Knott that satirizes the tragedy that befell New London on March 18, 1937 revealing a deeper insight to the consequences of human cupidity. The cartoon depicts Persephone, a woman dressed in white with the symbolic wreath on top of her head, casting flowers on top of a grave in a seemingly saddened state. In the background, an innumerable number of graves can be seen that contrasts yet a seemingly peaceful scene. The irony lies within the seemingly serene and peaceful scene depicted in the cartoon compared to the horrible, gruesome tragedy caused by a natural gas explosion that destroyed the newly built school in New London because of one faulty pipe line. In addition, the editorial accompanying the political cartoon, “From New London”, emphasizes the suffering of the community but also reveals deeper insight of the cause of the explosion – attributing it to human error and cutting corners. Finally, the season of spring signifies a time of new life, of vitality, of growth and maturity yet the cartoon shows the finalization of death and the harsh reality that 294 children would never be able to experience another spring due to human greed and laziness.

               The New London school complex was a combination of federal funding through the New Deal, the communities pride and optimism, and new modern educational reforms. Set in the time of the New Deal and Great Depression, New London, Texas was one of the wealthiest rural areas in the United States due to an East Texas Oil Boom (Brannon-Wranosky). Because of this aspect alone, New London was rather untouched by the Great Depression that was taking its toll on most rural subdivisions. This economic prosperity paved the way to the creation of a massive $1 million school complex. This rather unheard school proposal was primarily to allow young students to stay in school longer to pursue their own interests before they went to vocational or college preparatory (Lindenmeyer). Equipped with up-to-date curriculum, brand new facilities, the New London school was a source of pride to the local parents and community who had only limited education access during their own childhood.

What seemed to be a grand idea, failed miserable due to human error and on a deeper level, greed. In the editorial accompanying the cartoon, the editorial communicates the grief of losing a whole generation and the shock of those who must live and “carry with them the memory of an utter horror” (Dallas Morning News). Yet the editorial also states that the tragedy was not just an accident. The editorial points out the lack of inspection and the rigor of inspection to be one of the causes but also the fact that the board of directors had the mindset of “extracting the last gallon of liquid gold from the reservoirs of nature” (Dallas Morning News). With the mindset on capitalizing on any opportunity, the mindset of present day corporate greed, the editorial warns the community that no matter what is gained will never compare to a communities’ happiness and livelihood.

Tragedy struck on March 18, 1937 at precisely 3:17 pm, just thirteen minutes before London Junior-Senior High School was to be let out. Due to a faulty gas pipe, odorless natural gas had begun leaking into the school basement and saturating the tiles. The buildup of natural gas had reached the peak where one single spark could serve to be the catalyst for disaster. While teaching class, Limmie Butler, an instructor of manual training, turned on an electric sander and the spark was enough to set the natural gas that had been building up to ignite. Eye witness student, John Dial, testified that the explosion occurred immediately after the flip of the switch (LA Times). The walls immediately expanded which lifted the roof right off the building for a few seconds before coming crashing down on the helpless students and teachers. “Flames ignited by the blast quickly died out since the building was fireproof, but the strength of the explosion’s concussion and the massive volume of falling debris instantly killed most of the adults and children inside” (Lindenmeyer).

The immediate response of the community was to assist the children and teachers trapped under the debris. The first responders were a group of mothers 300 feet away gathered for a parent teacher’s association meeting. Hundreds of responders rushed to the scene and began frantically digging through the mass entanglement of concrete and wires to reach the helpless victims trapped underneath. The digging went on for hours while the cries of those still trapped underneath and the anguish and loss of the parents could be heard miles away. An interview with Molly Ward, a 10 ½ year old girl at that time, described how her life was torn apart in a split second, “It’s something that scars your mind – the screams, the cries – like some horrible disease you just can’t shake” (Inman). Ward was the only girl who got off at her bus stop that day, the only child to go home when another seven or eight mothers were anxiously waiting for their child who would never show up. Aid poured from all around the state, the Rangers, National Guards, local roughnecks, highway patrol, doctors and nurses from Dallas all participated in the rescue work. They dug well into the night and brought floodlights to continue their rescue work. The bodies began piling up, rows after rows of white sheets and burnt bodies waiting to be identified by parents and loved ones. Death Count: 294 (Inman). In the morning, the death toll was still rising, and only 130 people out of the 600 in the school escaped without serious injury (Lindenmeyer).

Not only were lives lost that day, but the optimism, joy, and hope of a community was destroyed, “a selective death, the last and cruelest plague of Moses, a whole generation dead” (Inman). In two weeks, the school reopened but no one dared talked about “it”, “they may have talked about it within homes, but it was never brought up in school” (Ward). It was treated as a bad memory and suppressed into the farthest corners of their minds. Molly Ward still vividly remembers the images and they become her nightmares at the sound of thunder. Eye witnesses can’t forget the nightmare of “oil field workers whose children were buried there were sobbing as they tore away at the rubble with their bloodied hands, uncovering body after body” (Inman). March 18 was not a day that could be forgotten.

The explosion that rocked East Texas was a tragedy waiting to happen. Following the explosion, a three-day inquiry was in procession when evidence arose that the superintendent and other district board members had deviated from the original gas plan. Instead of paying for regulated natural gas, the administration tapped into a separate pipeline that supplied them natural gas for free but posed a major threat: Unregulated natural gas was odorless. No one knows how the gas seeped into the building, a faulty pipeline, a broken valve, or even hints of sabotage, nothing was proved. But the damage had been done. Over the course of the next few months, insurance companies, the fire department, and different engineers were all called upon to examine the incident and how to prevent such tragedies in the future. Soon after, the State House of Representatives at Austin passed legislation demanding the implantation of malodorous substances in gas sold to the public (LA Times), eliminating the chance that odorless natural gas would build up in a room without detection.

Knott’s cartoon represents a very poignant, deep and resonating sadness that should be felt collectively as a community. Unlike a typical political cartoon, Knott utilizes this cartoon to grieve over the lives lost on March 18th.

Spring, March, is a season of growth and life symbolized by the Goddess Persephone in the cartoon yet the contrast of the numerous graves depicts death and finality. Taking important note of the date, March 20th (when the cartoon was published) is the first day of the spring equinox or the first day of spring. A day where flowers should blossom and birds should sing and happy march showers should come yet none of these are present in the cartoon. Instead we catch a glimpse of dark foreboding clouds that seem to overshadow the scene, blocking out any form of light or hope. We do see flowers but their purpose is not to show that spring has come but they are needed to honor the deaths of the children and teachers– once plucked and placed on the graves they are dead yet again. Knott paints a contrasting picture of what should be full of life but instead bears nothing but emptiness and sorrow emphasizing the hollowness the community felt after the explosion.

A woman with a wreath upon her head, perceived to be Persephone, the embodiment of spring, is crucial to the analysis of Knott’s cartoon. When Hades, the Greek god of death, took Persephone away, winter would arrive and with it the death of life yet upon her return spring would come and new life would blossom. But in the cartoon Persephone is seen to have come back but instead of the season of new life, we see a portrait of sadness and death. Persephone’s eyes and head are casted down and there is a certain lament in which she casts the flowers upon the graves of the dead. Knott emphasizes the tragedy to the point where even spring is on hold to mourn for the 294 children and teachers who died. Persephone is famously known for picking flowers yet in this cartoon Knott exhibits her doing the reverse, casting them away onto graves, in the same way the schoolboard casted away the lives of the 294 children and teachers when they decided to tap into unfiltered natural gas, something they could have avoided if they did not try to cut costs. Furthermore, life and Persephone hinges on the death and rebirth of nature, the coming and going of seasons, and Knott may be hinting at the fact that this incident should be a lesson learned in order to pave a way for a new beginning.

Spring Comes to East Texas is a political cartoon by John Knott that focuses on the great tragedy that befell New London. Under a seemingly vague cartoon, Knott is able to craftily emphasize and magnify the grief and despair felt among the community in order to warn the future generations about the consequences of human cupidity.

 

Works Cited:

Lindenmeyer, Kriste. “1937 New London School Explosion.” Disasters, Accidents, and Crises in American HistoryA Reference Guide to the Nation’s Most Catastrophic Events, by Ballard C. Campbell, Facts on File, 2008, pp. 264-266. Facts on File Library of American History. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX4085100136&it=r&asid=0277799bbeaee049c138759071e9f4d1. Accessed 1 Nov. 2016.

JOHN, YDSTIE. “Interview: Molly Ward Discusses The 1937 Gas Explosion At New London Consolidated School In Rusk County, Texas, And The Museum Dedicated To The Tragedy.” Weekend Edition Saturday (NPR) (n.d.): Newspaper Source. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.

Inman, William. “Texas Town Haunted by Blast that Killed a Generation.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Los Angeles, Calif.,  1987.http://ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/810380706?accountid=7118.

“Expert Gives New School Blast Theory.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Los Angeles, Calif.,1937.http://ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/164693322?accountid=7118.

Aschoff, Susan. “Town can’t Forget 1937 Blast: ‘Good God, all our Children are Dead’.”Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Los Angeles, Calif., 1985.http://ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/154324046?accountid=7118.

Knott, John. “Spring Comes to East Texas.” Dallas Morning News 20 Mar. 1937: n. pag. Print.

Brannon-Wranosky, Jessica. “Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History.” Journal of Southern History 79.4 (2013): 1004+. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

David, Isay. “75 Years Later: The Day The Town School Exploded.” Morning Edition (NPR) (2012): Newspaper Source. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Look at What You Made Me Do.

Cartoonist Gary Varvel provides his audience with an illustration of the apparent disagreement between the Republican and Democratic parties over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Cartoonist Gary Varvel provides his audience with an illustration of the apparent disagreement between the Republican and Democratic parties over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Look at What You Made Me Do is a political cartoon illustrated by Gary Varvel in the summer of 2013. This illustration displays a clear partisan divide between the Democrat and Republican party on the issue of ‘Obamacare’, a term used in place of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The cartoon shows a donkey, symbolizing the Democratic party, crashing an ambulance truck labeled “OBAMACARE” into a street post labeled “EMPLOYER MANDATE DR.” It also presents an elephant, symbolic of the Republican party, dressed in construction-worker’s attire holding a STOP-sign by his side. The donkey exhibits blame of his crash on the elephant by exclaiming, “Look at what you made me do” towards him. Varvel’s cartoon shows a desire by the Democratic party to implement the healthcare policies under Obamacare, while the Republican party seems to be reluctant to help make it work.

After taking the Oval Office in early 2009, President Barack Hussein Obama pushed for the passage of a bill that would reform the health care system in the United States. The reason being, after decades under the “American employer-based health insurance model”, employers began to either reduce or totally eliminate their employee health care benefits. While simultaneously private health insurance became less and less affordable for many people. This resulted in tens of millions of Americans being uninsured and medical expenses becoming the most common cause of personal bankruptcy by 2007 (Alic 402). In early 2010 a bill titled, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was passed by Congress and signed into law by president Obama with the intention of curtailing this issue. The purpose of this bill was to bring a reduction in the number of individuals who were without health insurance, an increase in the availability and quality of health care programs, and a reduction in the cost of health care to individuals and the government (Newton 1842). Both parties do realize that health care reform is necessary, however, both are in heavy opposition over this law.

One of the primary sources of controversy within the Affordable Care Act is its “Employer Mandate” provision, which is referenced in Varvel’s cartoon through the street post. This provision provides a set definition for big and small employers. Then based on the definitions these businesses will either receive assistance to help pay for health care or be obligated to reach certain requirements with regard to their employees’ health insurance. For instance, the act requires the government to start issuing tax credits to smaller employers with fifty or more employees to help pay for the cost of health care. Then the Act describes large businesses as having 200 or more employees and requires these employers to enroll their workers into health insurance plans that they offer (“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” 878). This provision is the center for much of the debate about the Affordable Care Act because both of the parties have different views on the extent the federal government can intervene with business and the economy.

The modern-day Democratic party is described as being the party that leans more towards a liberal ideology. This generally means that the Democrats approve of a strong national government that heavily implements social welfare and equality and government intervention to regulate the economy (Tarr 259). The Affordable Care Act allows the government to intervene on businesses when it comes to providing for their employees’ health care. The reason why the party would be in favor of such a measure is because it provides health insurance to a broader portion of the population, further fulfilling the liberal desire for equality. Also the Affordable Care Act became law when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and when President Obama, a Democrat, had control of the White House (“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” 877).

On the other hand, the contemporary Republican party holds a more conservative ideology relative to the Democrats. Which infers that most members of the party would be in favor of a national government that has little jurisdiction over regulating the economy and providing social services (Tarr 259). The Affordable Care Act goes against the Conservative-Republican ideology by allowing the government to impede on the affairs of businesses and, as a result, the economy. After it was passed back in 2010, twenty-seven Republican-controlled states joined in a lawsuit against it. They argued that requiring uninsured people to buy health insurance or face paying a fine was a violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and also their states’ rights ideology (Gaines 264). Over the years that the Affordable Care Act has been implemented, the Republicans have repeatedly vocalized their disapproval of the law. In the article “GOP Consumed by Obamacare” there is reports of Republican officials serving in various positions from Majority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, to the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, expressing a priority to repeal and replace the Act in 2014 (Milbank A9).

The partisan disagreement over the implementation of policies and the role of national government seems to be a common occurrence throughout the United States’ history. A similar disagreement between the Democrats and Republicans is illustrated in a political cartoon from the 1930’s by John Knott entitled The Campaign is On! (Knott 2) The issue referred to in Knott’s cartoon is the New Deal polices implemented by the Roosevelt administration, a Democratic president. The Democrats and Republicans in those days seem to maintain similar ideologies to their parties in the early 2010s. The Democrats were in favor of the New Deal which promoted government induced economic regulation and social programs to bring about economic recovery. While the Republicans believed that economic recovery would come more quickly by getting rid of the government regulation on industry put into motion by the New Deal.

Look at What You Made Me Do is a political cartoon that provides the viewer with a glimpse of the partisan disagreement over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It refers to a specific provision of the law that puts certain requirements on employers depending on their particular size. The cartoon also illustrates the desire by the Democratic party to implement the Affordable Care Act because it abides by the liberal ideology that party seems to maintain. On the other side of country’s political party system, the Republicans wish to repeal or slow down the implementation of the Affordable Care Act because it directly contradicts their conservative views.

Works Cited

Alic, Margaret, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Consumer Health Care. Ed. Brigam Narins. Vol. 2. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. 402-409. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

 

Gaines, Kevin. “Obama, Barack Hussein 1961-.” Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Ed. Patrick L. Mason. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit Macmillan Reference USA, 2013. 261-265. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

 

Milbank, Dana. “GOP Consumed by Obamacare.” Spokesman Review [Spokane, WA], 9 Jan. 2014, p. A9.

 

Newton, David E. “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).” The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Ed. Laurie J. Fundukian. 4th ed. Vol. 3. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. 1842- 1844. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

 

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law. Ed. Donna Batten. 3rd ed. Vol. 2: Health Care to Travel. Detroit: Gale, 2013. 877-880. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

 

Tarr, Dave, and Bob Beneson. “Ideology.” Elections A to Z. 4th ed. Los Angeles: CQ Press, 2012. 259-264. CQ Press America Government A to Z Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

 

Varvel, Gary. “Look at What You Made Me Do.” Cartoon. Creators Syndicate. 7 Jul. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.

The Campaign is On!

Cartoonist John Knott provides his audience with a glimpse of various points of views on New Deal policies implemented by the Roosevelt Administration preceding the 1936 presidential election.
Cartoonist John Knott provides his audience with a glimpse of various points of views on New Deal policies implemented by the Roosevelt Administration prior to the 1936 presidential election.

The Campaign is On! is a political cartoon by John Francis Knott displaying the partisan views of New Deal policies as a solution to the Great Depression preceding the 1936 presidential election. It shows Franklin D. Roosevelt, the incumbent president and democratic nominee, holding up a sign with the words “MORE FOOD AND BETTER HOMES”, both promises of his New Deal policies. It also shows two men walking directly beside him, one labeled as a farmer and the other as a city worker. The cartoon then depicts a frustrated-looking elephant, symbolizing the Republican party, wearing a coat with the words “ANTI-NEW DEAL” and holding a sign that asks “WHO’S GOING TO PAY FOR THEM?” (Knott 2) This cartoon suggests that Franklin Roosevelt, farmers, city workers and the Democratic party wish to continue on with the New Deal as the solution for the depression, while it displays the Republican party’s skepticism and disapproval of such a measure.

The editorial “The Roosevelt address”, which the cartoon was paired with, described Roosevelt’s speech at the National Democratic Dinner in 1936. It explained that this particular speech was utilized by Roosevelt to launch his campaign for his second term in office. The writer also asserted how the two main points of his speech left him vulnerable to economic criticism. The first of Roosevelt’s claims being that the national income had increased dramatically during his presidency from 1932 to 1936, which the writer explained did not take into account the devaluation the dollar underwent during his first term in office. Roosevelt’s second claim expressed his disagreement with the Republican ideology that simply lowering manufacturing costs would lead to economic recovery. He believed it instead would result in either the displacement of workers by machinery or a decrease in wages while hours on the clock increased for workers. The writer of the editorial then followed up with citing Henry Ford’s manufacturing model which gave worker’s fair pay scales while still lowering manufacturing and sell cost (“The Roosevelt Address” 2).

In the late 1920s and the 1930s the worst economic depression the nation had ever endured took place. This infamous period is known as the Great Depression. Prior to total economic collapse, the country had already been trending towards a recession, however, a notable start to the depression took place on October 29, 1929 when the stock market crashed (McElvaine 151). This event alone was not the sole cause of the Great Depression, but it did spark a general reluctance of the population to invest in stocks. From 1929 to 1933, the overall “consumption levels declined by 18 percent and investment levels declined by 98 percent.” (Lawson 61) As a result of this, one-quarter of the available labor force was unemployed. The streets began to fill with homeless and breadlines began to grow. It became clearer and clearer that government intervention was required. Herbert Hoover, Roosevelt’s predecessor and a Republican, implemented some measures to combat the economic downturn, although not much was done under his administration. An honest effort by the government to relieve the economic pains of the Great Depression was not put into motion until Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.

During his first term in the White House, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs and agencies, which became known as the New Deal, to combat the damage being done by the Great Depression. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration, the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were the first of many programs created under the banner of the New Deal to help control “prices, wages, trading practices, and production.” (Savage 845) The second major wave of New Deal legislation came in the form of the Social Security Act, the Wagner Act, and the Works Progress Administration. These measures aimed to increase consumption and decrease unemployment and also added “new social welfare benefits, such as retirement pensions and unemployment insurance.” (Savage 846) When the 1936 presidential election and the illustration of Knott’s cartoon came about, the country needed to decide whether to continue with such policies and reelect Roosevelt or to abandon the New Deal and bring in a Republican presidential elect.

Before the Great Depression was in full swing, the nation’s agricultural sector began to suffer in the 1920s. World War I had brought a large amount of agricultural growth to the United States. However, following the conclusion of the war, there began to be an overproduction of crops that flooded the market and impeded the farmers’ ability to make a profit (Lawson 62). Many of the country’s farms, particularly the ones at a larger scale, were being held afloat by New Deal policies such as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. This measure aimed to limit the production of crops in order to raise prices to profitable levels. This straightforward plan by the Roosevelt Administration, as well as many incentives from the government, may have swayed many farmers of the time to align with the implementation of the New Deal. This is evident in a 1936 election report by the Los Angeles Times titled the “Vote of the Drought States” that shows major agricultural states of the Midwest displaying a majority of party votes for Roosevelt (“Vote of Drought States” 14).

Major cities in the United States, such as Los Angeles, Akron, and Detroit, experienced a rapid growth in population during the 1920s because of the increase in the number of industrial jobs, as well as the retail and service industries. The occurrence of the stock market crash of 1929 and the persistent economic decline that followed proved to be a challenge for the ill-equipped city governments to combat. This resulted in a decrease in the consumption of products which led to a surplus in the goods being produced. In reaction, industry began to cut production and commit massive layoffs of its workers. These now unemployed city workers could no longer afford to pay their mortgages and rents, this is lead to an increase in the presence of homelessness of these major industrial centers (Flanagan 311). This put these people in a position where government aid was a necessity and the Roosevelt administration up until the 1936 election had a demonstrated a willingness to do so. The New Deal policy, the Federal Relief Act, provided monetary aid to state funded unemployment compensation programs. Also the Civilian Conservation Corps provided work for thousands of jobless young men on federal oriented projects, such as reforestation, road building, and flood control (Kennedy 430). Through agencies, such as the National Recovery Administration (NRA), Roosevelt aimed to “secure the agreement of major industries to government-backed codes designed the to stop the downward slide of payrolls, prices, and production.” (Kennedy 431) Those specific measures might have proven to be ineffective because even after their implementation the economy still “remained sickly.” (Kennedy 432) However, these and many other policies displayed to city working voters a clear effort by the Roosevelt administration to provide assistance to a suffering demographic of the United States’ population. This is possibly what coerced many wage earning voters to side with Roosevelt during the 1936 election. This is displayed when an article that was published in the New York Times following the election stated that “the wage-earner votes might easily account for the landslide” Roosevelt victory (Huston E4).

The Republican party during the 1936 presidential election was firmly against the measures implemented by the Roosevelt Administration and as a result were “anti-New Deal”, as Knott’s cartoon suggests. During the Republican Convention of 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio, the party’s platform began with the sentence, “America is in peril” and “focused on the alleged threat of New Deal policies to American Constitutional government.” (“1936 Conventions” 117) Essentially the Republicans wished to place the majority of the burden of unemployment relief back into local and state governments. They also wanted to restrict the federal government from placing production regulations on agriculture and industry, which was done by the National Relief Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. Alfred M. Landon, the Republican candidate, and the Republican party as a whole believed the New Deal had slowed the recovery of the economy by placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of private enterprise and industry (Merz E3).

The Democratic party during the 1936 presidential election was prepared to back Roosevelt and his New Deal policies. The Democratic Party Convention of 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania “was one of the most harmonious in party history.” (“1936 Conventions” 117) The party’s platform “supported the continuation of the extensive federal programs undertaken by the Roosevelt Administration” and expressed a necessary collaboration between federal and state governments to handle the issues brought about by the Great Depression (“1936 Conventions” 118). In an article published by the New York Times it is expressed that Roosevelt wished to divide the cost of relief between the national and state governments. Also Roosevelt expressed that the policies implemented by his administration did not slow down economic recovery, but instead brought “the return of confidence and the advance of business.” (Merz E3)

The Campaign is On! by John Francis Knott provides the viewer with a snapshot of various points of views on New Deal policies leading into the 1936 presidential election. Farmers at the time experienced a substantial loss in profit as a result of crop overproduction and the Great Depression. This group tended to side with Roosevelt and his New Deal policies for regulation and guaranteed profit. City workers began to struggle as a result of massive layoffs that took place in response to a rise in the surplus of goods. Wage-earners sided with the Roosevelt because of the measures taken in the form of industrial regulations and social projects implemented by his administration. Republicans at the time called for the abandonment of the New Deal, believing that it violated the United States’ Constitution and slowed down economic recovery. On the other hand, the Democrats and Roosevelt vouched for the continuation of the New Deal arguing that it had led to apparent improvements in the economy during his first term as president.

Works Cited

Flanagan, Richard. “Great Depression and Cities.” Encyclopedia of American Urban History. Ed. David Goldfield. Vol. 1. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, 2007. 311-313. Print.

 

Huston, Luther A. “Labor and Farm Groups Big Factors in Voting: Credit for Outcome Shared by Small Cities and Large, Negroes and Whites, New Voters and Old.” New York Times, 8     Nov. 1936, p. E4.

 

Kennedy, David M. “Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Presidents: A Reference History. Ed. Henry F. Graff. 3rd ed. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002. 427-443. Print.

 

Lawson, Russel M. and Benjamin A. Lawson. “Great Depression.” Poverty in America: An Encyclopedia. Westport, Ct: Greenwood Press, 2008. 61-65. Print.

 

McElvaine, Robert S. “Causes of the Great Depression.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression. Ed. Robert S. McElvaine. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 151-156. Print.

 

Merz, Charles. “Issues the Campaign Has Brought to the Fore: With President Roosevelt Himself as the Chief Issue, These are Also Vital.” New York Times, 1 Nov. 1936, p. E3.

 

Savage, Sean J. “Roosevelt, Franklin D.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression. Ed. Robert S. McElvaine. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004. 838-849. Print.

 

“Vote of Drought States.” Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 1936, p. 14.

 

“1936 Conventions.” National Party Conventions 1831-2008. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2010. 116-118. Print.  

We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms

Two business men wade through waist high water, "old-timer" is written across the man who is speaking. He says "Call this a bad storm? Why I kin remember back in 1873, and 1893--". Lightning outlines depression in the background.
Cartoonist John Knott mocks the depression and challenges Texans to persevere in the early years of The Great Depression.

The political cartoon We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms by John Francis Knott shows the optimism that older generations had in the early years of the Great Depression. In The cartoon there are two men in business attire, one of whom has old-timer written across his belly and the other is a younger man with a worried look. They are having a conversation while wading in waist deep water and avoiding floating debris. In the background there are fallen telephone polls and flooded houses, and depression is written in the thundercloud outlined by two lightning bolts. The old-timer is telling the younger gentlemen “Call this a bad storm? Why I kin remember back in 1873, and 1893–”, he is referring to The Panic of 1873 and The Depression of 1893 (Knott, 2).

The accompanying editorial titled “Survival of the Fit” emphasizes the strength that is needed to survive the depression. It comments on not doing as bad in the depression as other states due to it’s mainly rural population, and the drive of Texas men finding pleasure in a challenge (Editorial Team, 2). Although there are no ships in the cartoon the Editorial refers to the oncoming depression as an “Economic storm”, and makes many nautical references, comparing a ship to a business and it’s crew to businessmen.

The Panic of 1873 was a major depression in the U.S. caused by the Legal Tinder Acts. The Legal Tender Acts authorized the influx of over one billion in paper currency, or Greenbacks (Blanke). These Greenbacks were no longer founded on the gold standard, which was an idea that all paper money could be exchanged for gold. Since they were off the gold standard the actual value of the Greenback went down and the amount of Greenbacks needed to purchase something went up, also known as inflation. At this time a man named Jay Cooke who was a prominent investment banker decided to purchase the Northern Pacific Railroad (Encyclopedia.com). The land that the Railroad was built on was a sixty million dollar land grant from the government. In an effort to make a profit, Cooke sold the land around the railroad to the public for farming. The problem arose when Cooke found the land surrounding the railroad could not be used for farming. As prices for further construction and repairs for the railroad continued to rise, Cooke faced with a tough decision, lied to the public about the value of the land. When Cooke was found out the investors pulled out and with no source of income and no way to pay back investors Cooke sent the U.S. into a depression that lasted six years. However the U.S. beat the depression with the continued growth of the railroad and the influx of immigrant workers.

The Depression of 1893 was again caused by inflation and the reliance on the gold standard. The economy was booming with the massive growth of the railroads, but they were using borrowed money to do it. At this time Europe was invested heavily in American companies, but when the British banking firm, Baring and Brothers, went bankrupt it scared a lot of people, and Europeans began to redeem their stocks for gold. Coincidentally the price of silver began to drop, and since gold was the preferred worldwide currency, people in the U.S. also began to redeem their cash for gold (Sioux City Museum). These things caused the major loaning companies to go bankrupt spiraling the U.S. into a 3 yearlong depression. But the U.S. beat this depression as well by borrowing sixty five million from J.P. Morgan and the Rothschild banking family of England, to get back on the gold standard.

The Great Depression came about because of the rapid growth of the economy, and people investing in the stock market with borrowed money (Procter). Knott uses the depression as an analogy to a storm in the cartoon because like a storm The Great Depression came about quickly and people were not prepared for it. It started on October 24th, known as Black Thursday, it continued into the next week with Black Monday and then to the worst day in Wall Street history, Black Tuesday (Silver). Within one week the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a “price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange” fell more than twenty percent (Silver). With unemployment exceeding ten percent across the country the president at the time, Herbert Hoover predicted numerous times that the depression would be over soon, that the storm would pass, but it did not (Whitten). Not until the Second World War, which started in 1939, would the economy begin to look up as the U.S. began trading arms.

Knott is using his cartoon to instill optimism in his readers through the old-timer. The old-timer is saying that the storm will pass eventually, and he has been through worse even though he had not. By having the two men wading through water and debris, Knott is making light of the situation, as if to taunt the “storm” further. By referencing the Panic of 1873 and The Depression of 1893 Knott is showing that the old man is at least fifty-eight at this point, and yet, he is out in the storm giving advice to his younger friend. Knott uses this age difference in the men to show if an old man can make it through both of those depressions and still be ok then why can’t the young business man.

We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms was created to show readers that the U.S. has been through depressions before and they have survived all of them. The editorial provides words of encouragement and challenges Texans and Americans alike to face the depression head on. Knott mocks the depression with the old-timer, and the cartoon serves as a political commentary on not only the strength of Texas but the nation as a whole.

Works Cited

Blanke, David. “Teaching History.org, Home of the National History Education Clearinghouse.” Panic of 1873 | Teachinghistory.org. Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Editorial Team. “Survival of the Fit.” Dallas Morning News [Dallas] 28 May 1931, sec. 2: 4. Print.

Knott, John Francis. “We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms.” Dallas Morning News [Dallas] 28 May 1931, sec. 2: 4. Print.

“Panic of 1873.” St. James Encyclopedia of Labor History Worldwide: Major Events in Labor History and Their Impact. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Nov. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Procter, Ben H. “GREAT DEPRESSION.” Texas State Historical Association. TSHA, 15 June 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Silver, Caleb. “Stock Market Crash Of 1929.” Investopedia. Investopedia, 10 Oct. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Sioux City Museum. “Financial Panic of 1893.” Financial Panic of 1893. Sioux City Museum, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Whitten, David O. “The Depression of 1893.” EHnet. Economic Historical Association, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

 

 

 

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