The Bear Craves Seawater


Sitting on the Eurasian continent, and armed soldier (Japan) guards territory labeled "Manchukuo" as a bear (Russia) looks on hungrily from Siberia.
Sitting on the Eurasian continent, and armed soldier (Japan) guards territory labeled “Manchukuo” as a bear (Russia) looks on hungrily from Siberia.

Japan’s invasion of Manchuria was a highly significant occurrence in the erratic, sensitive time between the first and second world wars, garnering many reactions from across the globe. Manchuria was a historically disputed region in East Asia predominantly belonging to China. However, China’s weak economic condition in the late 1800’s allowed external powers to exert spheres of influence in many regions of China. Beginning in the mid 19th century, Britain had boldly colonized Hong Kong and other Chinese islands (Kong). This prompted the U.S. to introduce the Open Door Policy as an attempt to halt further colonialist intentions in the early 1900’s. However, peace did not last as geopolitical turmoil and war plagued the following decades.

The growth of fascism in this post-WWI period pitted countries against each other, as superpowers clashed for control over weaker regions of the globe. Ultimately, it was the greed and aggression of Japanese imperialism in overtaking Manchuria in 1931 that broke the Open Door agreement among the superpowers . Relations among Russia, Japan and China fluctuated between amnesty and conflict, creating the tension that culminated into the Manchurian conflict.

Two looming figures fill the political cartoon “The Bear Craves Seawater” by John Knott, a former cartoonist for the Dallas Morning News. One is a thirsty bear labeled “Russia” eyeing a soldier, “Japan,” who guards territory labeled as “Manchukuo,” which can be can be identified as Manchuria from its geographic placement on the map. In an editorial accompanying Knott’s cartoon, “Russia Thinks of the Future,” the focus is specifically on Russia, an expanding militaristic force as Japan, and its reactions to the invasion. At the time this cartoon was published, October 1932, the world was suffering from the Great Depression, and the tension leading to World War II was beginning to thicken. However, the cartoon was specific to the relationship between Japan and Russia in this conflict over land.

Russia had a presence in Manchuria through the 1800s, and as China’s Qing dynasty declined, Russia was able to convince China, through bribery and intimidation, to allow the Chinese Eastern Railway to be built through Manchuria. This allowed Russia to exert more dominance and control in the region by ensuring access to the Pacific Ocean through their port of Vladivostok (Perrins). At that time, Russia was run by tsars, or emperors, who all prioritized expansionism for economic and nationalistic reasons. The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was a pivotal turning point for Russian history; ending the age of the tsars and bringing in socialism (Millar), which eventually influenced Chinese ideologies. Over the next few years, there were close relations between the communist parties in both nations. However, in 1927 the new Chinese ruler Chiang Kai-shek, a nationalist, turned against communism and the Russians. This left their relations tattered by 1932, causing Russia to lose an ally in China.

Chinese relations with Japan were just as negative. In the late 19th century, Japan had been expanding into Korea, China’s vassal state, which led to the first Sino-Japanese war in 1894 (Perrins). Korea was colonized through Japan’s victory, an experience that caused tremendous anti-Japanese sentiment among the Koreans- a factor that the Dallas Morning News editorial points out as a disadvantage to Japan. During World War I, Japan imposed its “21 Demands” on China, which was an attempt to assert more Japanese military involvement in China with an emphasis on Manchuria (Davis). The U.S. helped ward off Japan through diplomatic pressure along with the aid of a Chinese boycott of many Japanese goods. However, after WWI was over, China was left to itself and couldn’t resist military intrusion in its weak post-war state, despite anti-Japanese sentiment. Although Japan signed the Nine-Power agreement in 1922, acknowledging China’s principal hold on Manchuria, peace did not last (Davis). The Japanese military invaded Manchuria in 1931 over a fabricated conflict and violently took hold of the region, implementing a puppet government as an “independent” state renamed “Manchukuo.” The League of Nations condemned Japan yet did not take action, and in response, Japan simply left the League. China and Japan’s relations would remain volatile, leading to the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. It wasn’t until the end of World War II that Japan relinquished control over Manchuria (Perrins).

Both Russia and Japan were proud, imperial nations with interests in Manchuria’s resources and tactical position since the 19th century. Russia had been wary of Japan throughout the late 19th century, involving itself in the outcome of the first Sino-Japanese war of 1894. Japan had to give up the Liaodong peninsula, one of its war prizes, because of pressure from Russia, Germany and France (Davis). The clashes between the two in Manchuria culminated into the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, which ended with President Theodore Roosevelt’s Treaty of Portsmouth (Dobbs). The treaty granted more privileges to Japan, as the U.S. was closer to Japan at the time before the growth of authoritarianism. The Open Door Policy allowed Japan to have such smooth access to Russia’s former property, including its precious railway. Russia did not have the means to engage Japan through the following years and first world war. By 1932, A New York Times article explained that Russia chose to focus on it’s 5 year plan on infrastructure and would not fight Japan because it knew China would not cooperate (Solkolsky). Russia also knew of China’s profound hatred and boycotting of Japan in recent years, and thus relied on that to be a hurdle for Japan.

The Dallas Morning News editorial suggests that Russia was watching Japan’s actions intently, but backed off from any violence, in order to know when it might have the chance to reassert dominance over the region; hence, the watchful bear in Knott’s cartoon. Russia decided to wait for Japan’s inevitable downfall, seeing the flaws in its arrogance and opposition from former allies. The humor from Knott’s art stems from the characterization of the countries. Both are hyperbolized as absurd huge figures the size of giants sitting on the globe. One can tell that Russia seems to have the desire to take Manchuria from Japan through the characterization of the curious bear and the alert soldier.

The editorial’s predictions of Russia’s future actions weren’t untrue. Towards the last days of World War II, Russia invaded Manchuria and pushed back Japan’s weak forces. For years, Russia continued to plunder the region until China reacquired it (Perrins). The deep-running histories between China, Russia and Japan need to be understood to comprehend how such a dangerous, territorial brawl over Manchuria could have taken place. This conflict influenced WWII greatly, with Japan’s aggression and resignation from the League of Nations contributing to the growth of fascism plaguing the globe in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The power-hunger and imperialism of Russia has also persisted to the modern day, the Bear’s teeth biting into many world affairs and upholding Russia’s reputation as a relentless force.

Works Cited:

“Russia Thinks of the Future”, The Dallas Morning News, 23 October 1932, Section 3:8

“Manchuria, Japanese Invasion of (1931).” Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests: From
Ancient Times to the Present, edited by Paul Davis, 2nd ed., Grey House Publishing, 2006,
pp. 372-373. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 13 Mar. 2018.

Dobbs, Charles M. “Manchuria.” America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the
Dictionary of American History, edited by Edward J. Blum, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016, pp. 641-642. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 13 Mar. 2018.

Kong, Belinda. “Hong Kong (Britain/China).” Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, & Africa: An
Encyclopedia, vol. 3: East and Southeast Asia, SAGE Reference, 2012, pp. 288-290. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 27 Apr. 2018.

Knott, John, “The Bear Craves Sea Water”, The Dallas Morning News, 23 October 1932, Section 3:8

Millar, James R., editor. Encyclopedia of Russian History. Vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. Gale
Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 10 Apr. 2018

Perrins, Robert John. “Manchuria.” Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, edited by Karen Christensen and
David Levinson, vol. 4, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002, pp. 27-29. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 13 Mar. 2018.

JAPAN’S: While Accepting the Situation Created in North Manchuria, the Soviets Elsewhere Press Their Plans for Wide Domination.” The New York Times, 19 June 1932, p. XX3.

This May Hurt a Little

Depicted as a doctor, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson gives a “bailout” shot, or capital injection, during the “Great Recession.”
Depicted as a doctor, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson gives a “bailout” shot, or capital injection, during the “Great Recession.”

In the wake of dramatic financial deregulation (e.g. the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, see McDonald) that occurred in the late 20th century, questionable financial practices (e.g. over-the-counter derivatives, see Beers) and outright corruption (e.g. the Credit Rating Controversy, see CFR Staff), were abundant in many companies on Wall Street. Due to loose lending/borrowing practices, many credit rating companies that were in charge of analyzing bank’s credit and checking eligibility for loans, failed to oversee many banks on Wall Street. By the Fall of 2007, prices of homes in the US were at their highest, which enabled homeowners to use their property as equity to borrow more and more money. Due to prices of homes being so high, many homeowners applied for loans for homes that actually were out of their price range—a major step on the path towards the subprime loan crisis. A subprime loan is “a type of loan offered at a rate above prime to individuals who do not qualify for prime rate loans” (Investopedia). They were given to “borrowers with impaired credit records” because such borrowers were turned away from traditional lenders (CFPB). These loans had higher interest rates compared to the normal rate for conventional loans. Giving subprime loans was “intended to compensate the lender for accepting the greater risk in lending to such borrowers” (CFPB).  As the use of subprime loans continued, an economic downturn began when bad accounting and poor management of investment banks and other institutions were revealed among many companies on Wall Street.

Known as the “Great Recession,” it was the most “severe, prolonged economic downturn” the US had experienced since the 1930’s (Rouse). Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson (2006-2009), was called in to aid the failing financial system. Paulson, with the help of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke (2006-2014), oversaw several forms of bailout, including the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Contrary to his conservative economic philosophy, circumstances forced Paulson to implement capital injections into big banks, to bring America out of its financial crisis.

By early Spring of 2008, many homeowners had accrued so much debt that they were not able to pay their mortgages anymore. As mortgages became too high, many people were forced to foreclose their homes, which led big financial institutions to stop buying mortgages. Big institutions such as the banks, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers, and the insurance company, American International Group, or AIG, were “too big to fail;” if they failed the rest of country was at major risk of an economic downfall.

Paulson dealt with many dilemmas, including “moral hazard,” “the idea that a party protected in some way from risk will act differently than if they didn’t have that protection” (Beattie). Institutions were held to the standard, that if they are bailed out, they were not going to be bailed out again. The bailed-out companies were expected to learn from their mistakes, rather than make that mistake again. Paulson was also in charge of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which purchased “troubled companies’ assets and equity” for $700 billion” (Investopedia). However, along with many other conservatives, the Secretary of Treasury could not have been any more against TARP. He was a firm believer in the government refraining from intervention, and TARP did just that. Along with the use of TARP, the highly debated capital injections were implemented. Again, although very against it, Henry Paulson infused capital injections into banks, which was “an investment of capital into a company,” in return, the government would own stock in their company (Investopedia).

Warnings about a possible recession were given many times before by Brooksley Born, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (1996-1999). Born knew that Wall Street’s lack of regulation and over-the-counter derivatives were causing a threat to the American public (Beers). Over-the-counter derivatives were “private contracts that [were] traded between two parties without going through an exchange,” therefore posing a credit risk for many companies due to the absence of a clearing corporation (Beers). Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1987-2006), refused to believe what Born had brought to the table. Greenspan’s unwillingness to believe Born would be our country’s biggest mistake.

Before the stock market crashed in 2008, unemployment was at its highest, peaking at “10 percent,” which was just “15 percent less than that of the Great Depression” (Horton). In the housing sector, supply and demand was uneven, meaning more houses were on the market than there were buyers. This caused commercial and investment banks to suffer large from the loss of payments from their borrowers.

Goldman Sachs’ former CEO, Henry Paulson, was Secretary of Treasury, while Ben Bernanke, expert on the Great Depression, was Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the recession. Bernanke and Paulson were called in to combat the panic on Wall Street. They both knew that something needed to be done immediately, but how were they going to do it? Bear Stearns was their first item of business. On March 10, 2008, Bear Stearns, one of the smallest investment banks on Wall Street, could not open for business due to lack of financial capital (Inside the Meltdown). Bernanke and Paulson agreed that the Federal Reserve was not going to interfere with banks by aiding them with money, but money was what Bear Stearns needed desperately. Bernanke was able to find a way to provide the funds to assist Bear Stearns. He persuaded JP Morgan and the Federal Reserve Bank to give secure funding to Bear Stearns, which almost immediately backfired. Other banks did not like that Bear Stearns was given money and they weren’t. Despite the bailout, Bear Stearns was back to normal for just seven days before shutting down permanently.

After Bear Stearns shut down, came the ethical concerns associated with moral hazard and the rapid decline of the economic system. Moral hazard entailed, if the government bailed out a corporation, what incentive would they have to not make that mistake again? The administration of Bernanke and Paulson was “accused of allowing the creation of moral hazard risk from its bailout of Bear Stearns” thus “raising expectations that other firms facing failure would also be bailed out” (Markham). Therefore, Bernanke issued a warning to Wall Street that they were not to loan money to any other banks.

Almost a week later, on March 17, 2008, Lehman Brothers, the “fourth largest investment bank in the United States,” went into bankruptcy, this signaled the coming of the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression (Horton). Paulson, exhausted and under immense political pressure, was searching for a buyer for Lehman Brothers. The problem was that no banks wanted to lend to another bank for fear they would not get paid back. Bankruptcy was a certainty and the government wasn’t going to intervene any further. After Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, Wall Street froze, and the pressure to solve the economic decline returned (Kessler).

In September 2008, AIG, the largest insurance company on Wall Street, was next to call for Paulson and Bernanke’s help. AIG did not have enough money in the bank to honor the commitments they had made with their clients (Manning). Their crisis was so severe that members of Congress were brought in to help Bernanke and Paulson. They came to the decision to save AIG by bailing them out from the US government with over $183 billion (Manning). After the efforts given to save Wall Street’s largest corporations, many believed the government was reacting but not acting (Manning). With the criticism of the government’s lack of intervention, Bernanke then called in Paulson to explain that it was time for them to do something more direct; something that would hit all investment banks.

Bernanke and Paulson went to a congressional leadership meeting held at Capitol Hill to deliver the news. Paulson told Congress that, “Unless you act, the financial system of this country and the world will melt down in a matter of days” (Inside the Meltdown). Paulson brought the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, to Congress that stated he needed $700 billion from taxpayer dollars “to be used to buy the kinds of toxic mortgage securities that were creating so many problems for the banks” (Inside the Meltdown). Moreover, those funds were needed in a matter of days. Capitol Hill was furious, “It was an unprecedented, unaffordable and unacceptable expansion of federal power” (Inside the Meltdown). Thus, when the House voted on the bill, it failed, leading to an immediate and dramatic drop in stock prices.

After the act failed, the idea of capital injections came into play. Capital injections entailed inserting “billions of dollars into ailing banks in order to boost confidence and unfreeze credit” (Inside the Meltdown). There were insiders in Congress who liked the idea and believed it was what they needed to save the banks. Authorization of capital injections was added into the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, but Paulson could not have been any more against it. The bill passed, and Paulson reluctantly had to “step in directly with government capital” (Inside the Meltdown).

Due to the act passing, Bernanke and Paulson had to sit down with executives from the top banks on Wall Street at the time, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs. Paulson told them he would be giving each bank tens of billions of dollars in return for the government being a major stockholder in their companies; “Paulson would spend $125 billion that day” (Inside the Meltdown). For Paulson and Bernanke, government intervention was not morally right, but it was their only option. Along with enforcing capital injections, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was created to make up for lost capital in banks.

Against Paulson’s beliefs, he was assigned as head of TARP, which “stabilize[d] the country’s financial system, restore[d] economic growth, and mitigate[d] foreclosures” (Investopedia). It allowed the government to buy stake in banks, in return, companies would lose certain tax benefits, and have limits placed on executive compensation, in order to protect funds being spent. By 2010, Paulson would spend $350 billion to save the financial system.

During the time of the Great Recession, many cartoons were printed in newspapers regarding the 21st century’s worst economic crisis. For example, in Gary Varvel’s cartoon above, Paulson is depicted as a doctor giving a shot with the term “bailout” written on it. Varvel incorporated a humorous play on the word injection, by creating a parallel image between government intervention and a shot.  Paulson is shown saying “this may hurt a little,” meaning not only the pain of a needle but portraying a poke at the government’s administrations ego and outlook. There is a play on words with capital injection, by the word “injection” being represented as a needle to symbolize companies getting a shot of capital “bailout,” as an immediate cure to the failing financial system.

The cartoon by Gary Varvel resonates with the 1930s’ era cartoon titled, “What This Congress Needs,” published in the Dallas Morning News (Knott). These cartoons depicted the main influencers during the time of the major financial crises: President Herbert Hoover and Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson. Knott’s cartoon and the accompanying editorial, “Mr. Hoover Reproves,” discussed saving America’s economy and the efforts needed in order to end the financial crisis (Dallas Morning News). Varvel’s cartoon about capital injections related to Knott’s cartoon, “What This Congress Needs,” by showing how each era was in desperate need of funds and the efforts gone to preserve these funds. Both men depicted in the cartoons were harshly criticized by their peers and the people of America for their efforts in aiding their country.

The “Great Recession” was unlike anything America had seen since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. When banks started to have lack of regulation and poor accounting, it caused the beginning of the financial crisis on Wall Street. Sadly, had the advice of Brooksley Born been applied earlier on, the disaster could have been avoided. Rather than being prevented, however, the Great Recession had begun when an influx of homeowners received such large loans that they were unable to pay the banks back. Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke did everything in their power to bring America’s finances back to normal, by loaning funds, establishing bills, and injecting capital into companies. As shown in Knott and Varvel’s cartoon’s, the efforts given in order to fix the failing financial system were actions Hoover and Paulson thought were necessary for the United States. Hoover and Paulson had many different successes and failures during their terms in the US government. Their efforts have given modern-day government an outlook on how to avoid and handle another disastrous stock market crash.


Works Cited:

Beattie, Andrew. “What Is Moral Hazard?” Investopedia, Investopedia, 3 Jan. 2018,

Beers, Brian. “What Is an Over-the-Counter Derivative?” Investopedia, Investopedia, 2 Apr. 2018,

CFR Staff. “The Credit Rating Controversy.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

Horton, Ron. “The Great Recession.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd ed., vol. 2, St. James Press, 2013, pp. 541-543. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 12 Apr. 2018.

“Inside the Meltdown.” Frontline, produced by Michael Kirk, Jim Gilmore, and Mike Wiser, PBS, 2009.

Investopedia. “Subprime Loan.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 22 Feb. 2018,

Kessler, Andy. “What Paulson is Trying to Do.” The Wall Street Journal. 2008. Factiva.!?&_suid=152528787598900347533194525429.

Manning, Robert D., and Anita C. Butera. “Consumer Credit and Household Debt.” Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues, edited by Michael Shally-Jensen, vol. 1: Business and Economy, ABC-CLIO, 2011, pp. 33-45. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.

Markham, Jerry W. “The Crisis Begins.” A Financial History of the United States, vol. 6: From the Subprime Crisis to the Great Recession (2006-2009), M.E. Sharpe, 2002, pp. 473-523. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 15 Apr. 2018.

McDonald, Oonagh. “The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act: Myth and Reality.” Cato Institute, 16 Nov. 2016,

“Moral Hazard.” International Encyclopedia of Organizational Studies, edited by Stewart R. Clegg and James R. Bailey, vol. 3, SAGE Publications, 2008, pp. 917-919. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 15 Apr. 2018.

Rouse, Margaret. “What Is Great Recession (Great Recession)? – Definition from” SearchCIO, Mar. 2012,

“The Warning.” Frontline, produced by Michael Kirk, Jim Gilmore, and Mike Wiser, PBS, 2009.

“What Is a Subprime Mortgage?” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 24 Feb. 2017,

Varvel, Gary. “This May Hurt a Little.” 28 September 2008. Found, Cartoonist Group, 20 April 2017,

Marijuana Prohibition Ends at Last


Newspaper proclaims that prohibition of marijuana finally ends after 79 years of prohibition.


America’s decision to start legalizing marijuana has sparked much conversation about its previous decision to abolish Prohibition also known as 21st Amendment, and especially how the 1933 Cullen-Harrison Act and 2016 Proposition 64 relate. Those two referendums, respectively, were put in place to make alcohol legal in America and marijuana legal in California. California began legalizing medical marijuana in 1996, and about 20 years later, the state legalized recreational marijuana with Proposition 64 (McGreevy). California saw that other states were benefiting from taxing marijuana sales and quickly got on board. Though most of the state’s population wanted to legalize, some people still were on edge about the negative aspects of marijuana being legal. For example, marijuana can cause psychosis, affect brain development, and be a gateway drug (“California Marijuana Abuse Statistics, Rates, and Treatment.”)

Cartoonist Keith Tucker relates the legalization of marijuana to the abolition of prohibition in his political cartoon titled, “Prohibition Ends at Last!”. His cartoon reads “Marijuana now legal in Calif. Voters put an end to the 79 years of prohibition. It’s about time!” This cartoon sheds light on the new legalization of marijuana, which although welcomed by many, remains strongly opposed by others. Those supporting legalization of marijuana, like those advocating for the 21st Amendment, considered similar arguments when fighting for passage of the two laws.

The article, “California’s new legal marijuana market marks the beginning of the end for prohibition” by German Lopez explains that California’s legalization of marijuana was a long time coming (Lopez). From 57% support of Californians in 2016 to 64% support in 2018, many people are very excited about their newfound freedom using marijuana (Lopez). Moreover, California currently has the highest revenue from marijuana sales in America (Lopez). Lopez, predicts that California’s marijuana industry could be worth $5.1 billion in 2018.

For those who are for the legalization of marijuana it is easy to spot the parallels of how the 21th Amendment in 1933 and the current legalization of marijuana in California are very similar. Journalist Jonathan Boesche identifies five ways that alcohol prohibition was no different than the marijuana ban including arguments such as: 1) People will get the substance anyway; 2) Cartels will still supply people with the illegal substance; 3) Financial benefits to the public from legalization; 4) Increase of spending in the fight to keep it banned; 5) Personal liberties and people’s right to use (Boesche, Jonathan).

Each point of Boesche’s points has a parallel with arguments against the prohibition of alcohol. The power of supply and demand are evident in the cases of both alcohol ad marijuana. Suppliers know what consumers want and will sell it to them. This was evident in the early 1900’s when speakeasies opened and illegally sold alcohol to those who were willing to break the law and buy it from them. The next point Boesche brings up is cartels. If someone wants marijuana, they will find a way to get it, even if it means getting involved with drug cartels. This illegal way of getting what you want comes with other crime that goes hand in hand with cartels. Cartels are not in support of legalizing marijuana because then they would not profit on selling it illegally (Boesche, Jonathan). Boesche goes on to say that we should benefit society by legalizing marijuana and collect taxes from it. The taxes collected from marijuana would benefit the government. The government also started benefiting from collecting taxes from alcohol sales when the 21st Amendment was established. He goes on to recognize how much spending America does to fight marijuana use and how that money could be used somewhere else. We can reflect on how much we spent fighting the consumption of alcohol and see how we are repeating history by doing the same while fighting against marijuana use. Lastly, he address how the government shouldn’t be able to control what we do with our bodies as long as we don’t hurt anyone else while doing so (Boesche, Jonathan).

In California, while some people fully support the legalization of marijuana, others only support limited medical marijuana use and did not support Proposition 64. For instance, Dr. Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School argues that medical marijuana can be beneficial and not even give the patient a “high.” The chemical in marijuana that induces the high is called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (Grinspoon). The strains that patients use do not contain this chemical, and if it does there is very little of if. The extract from the plant, cannabidiol or CBD, has very few intoxicating properties (Grinspoon). Patients who use this drug find relief from insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain. These are just a few examples of what marijuana can help with.

Tucker’s cartoon compares California’s legal reform regarding marijuana to the days of prohibition of alcohol. Then, the 18th amendment was in place to ban the production, sale, and use of alcohol. Another cartoonist, John Knott, also discusses the ideas of prohibition through his cartoon, “Weather Forecast for Houston: Cloudy, Possibly Showers.” Both cartoonists point out how significant it would be to change the prohibitive law. Both articles draw attention to a potential new way of life with those substances being legal. The pros eventually outweighed the cons when deciding whether or not to legalize the consumption of alcohol. Tucker points out how that is currently happening in California regarding the legalization of marijuana.

Tucker’s cartoon portrays history repeating itself with the legalization of marijuana. Many states follow behind California in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. According to Governing Magazine, as of March 2018 nine states -almost one fifth of America- have legalized recreational use of marijuana (“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map.”) Others still focus on the negative aspects of marijuana being available to anyone of age. His, “It’s about time” political cartoons shed light on the popular topic of legalizing marijuana use in America. “John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015, reversed a long-held stance against marijuana legalization on Wednesday, saying on Twitter that “my thinking on cannabis has evolved” (Victor, Daniel.) This is just one example of how influential people are starting to change their long standing views of marijuana.

Works Cited

Boesche, Jonathan. “5 Ways Alcohol Prohibition Was No Different Than The Marijuana Ban.” Voices of Liberty, 3 May 2016,

“California Marijuana Abuse Statistics, Rates, and Treatment.” San Diego Addiction Treatment Center,

Grinspoon, Peter. “Medical Marijuana.” Harvard Health Blog, 9 Jan. 2018,

Knott, John. “Weather Forecast For Houston: Cloudy, Probably Showers.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 24 May 1932. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John F., Cartoon Scrapbook. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas.

Lopez. “California’s New Legal Marijuana Market Marks the Beginning of the End for Prohibition.” Vox, Vox, 2 Jan. 2018,

Marijuana Legalization News and Political Cartoons,

McGreevy, Patrick. “Californians Vote to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana in the State.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2016,

“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map.” Governing Magazine: State and Local Government News for America’s Leaders,

Victor, Daniel. “John Boehner’s Marijuana Reversal: ‘My Thinking on Cannabis Has Evolved’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2018,

“Wets Pour It On” Dallas Morning News, 24 May. 1932. Editorial. Section 2, page 2.


Democratic National Conventions of 1928 and 1932

A man is remembering the 1928 Democratic convention regarding the “Dry-Wet Question” before going into the Democratic convention of 1932.

National political conventions are held every four years to choose a party’s candidates for President and Vice President (Berman, Russell). Conventions also are held to set platforms that articulate the party’s stance on issues. In the Democratic conventions of 1928 and 1932, a major issue discussed was Prohibition, also known at the Volstead Act, which implemented the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it illegal to buy, sell, or make alcohol. Prohibition was in place in the U.S. for thirteen years, from 1920 to 1933, until President Franklin D. Roosevelt eventually repealed it. In the debate over Prohibition the expression “wet-dry” alluded to whether a candidate was for or against prohibition. “Wet” meant the candidate wanted alcohol to be legal, while “dry” meant the candidate wanted alcohol to be illegal. This was an ongoing debate that preceded the 1928 convention and lasted through the Democratic convention of 1932.

The Democratic convention of 1928 was held in Houston (“United States History”). Hosting the convention in Texas was a big deal because it was the first time the South had hosted the Democratic convention since the Civil War (“Prohibition Repealed 1920-1933″). Alfred E. Smith was a Democrat from Houston who was an anti-prohibitionist. He was also the first Roman Catholic nominated as a presidential candidate. He wanted to destroy the Volstead Act.

During that convention Alfred E. Smith was a “wet” candidate, who supported the repeal of the 18th Amendment. Smith entered the convention with the majority of the votes. Going into the convention with this stance influenced the Democratic party to also be “wet” because of how trusted Smith was as a politician (“United States History”). Since Smith went into the convention without much competition from other Democrats, his platform was adopted as the Democratic platform for the 1928 election. Therefore, the outcome of the 1928 convention was that the Democratic party would be “wet.”

Despite the efforts of Smith, Herbert Hoover eventually won the presidency. Hoover was a “dry” Republican from Kansas City. Charles Curtis was his Vice President and also was pro prohibition alongside Hoover (“1928 Conventions”). Hoover continued to uphold the 18th amendment during his time as president.

Four years later, the national Democratic convention was held in Chicago (“United States History”). In 1932, the question of whether the candidate representing the party would be “wet” or “dry” was still up for debate. Then-New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, a “wet,” entered the Chicago convention with the majority of the votes (“Franklin D. Roosevelt”). “FDR had been a “dry” candidate, but as he built his campaign for the presidency in 1932, he agreed to become a “wet” in order to receive the Democratic Party nomination. He made a campaign promise to overturn the 18th Amendment and to legalize drinking.

“Wets Pour it On”, an editorial in the Dallas Morning News refers to the Democratic convention that would take place in Chicago in 1932 from June 27 — July 2. When Roosevelt’s campaign manager realized that his candidate could not win the presidential nomination without the votes that John Garner, a politician and lawyer from Texas had been promised, he arranged a meeting with Garner’s campaign manager to see if Garner would consider running as Vice President with Roosevelt (“John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President.”)  However, the two men took different stances on the issue of prohibition at the beginning, and that played a big role in the 1932 convention.

It wouldn’t make sense for Democrats to be “wet” when such an influential person as John Garner was “dry.”  The editorial criticized the two men’s differing political stances to the wet-dry question. Preferring to be part of the ticket, Garner decided to team up with Roosevelt in the middle of the convention. After changing his position on the issue, Garner was then nominated to run for Vice President for the Democratic party. Roosevelt and Garner both ran “wets.”  Franklin Roosevelt eventually won the Democratic nomination for President and presidency alongside Texan and current Speaker of the House, John Garner as Vice President and called for prohibition’s repeal (1932 Conventions). He did exactly what he promised to do. The results for personal liberty and the economy were immediate. FDR certainly gained an “ally” at Budweiser (“The Real Reason for FDR’s Popularity”).

John Knott’s cartoon is essentially a flashback to the same issues of prohibition that were still being debated in 1928 and 1932. The comic portrays a man looking at the sky during the previous convention in Houston saying, “It might blow over.” He is referring to the political storm over the “wet-dry” platforms of each candidate. The umbrella he is holding in his hand reads, “referendum.” It refers to the popular vote by the electorate to go “wet” or “dry”. The cartoon by John Knott, “Weather Forecast for Houston: Cloudy, Probably Shower” in the Dallas Morning News refers to the Democratic convention held in Houston in 1928. The cartoon retrospectively depicts the outcome of the Democratic Party’s stance in 1928 before their national convention in 1932 where they were still discussing what their party’s stance would be on prohibition. The accompanying editorial, “The Wets Pour It On” also from the Dallas Morning News, foreshadows the upcoming convention in 1932 based upon the outcome of the 1928 convention. In the 1932 Democratic convention the two candidates that ran together, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Garner originally ran with different stances on prohibition. This is what sparked the editorial being published.

Knott’s cartoon is a depiction of the “wet-dry” question that Democratic politicians were grappling with during their party’s presidential conventions of 1928 and 1932. This cartoon was published right before the latter convention to remind people that the “wet-dry” problem would be discussed again in the upcoming gathering in Chicago. This was significant because the Democratic party might change their stance on being “wet” or “dry” depending on who they nominated. Knott’s cartoon alludes to the “wet-dry” storm that would hopefully “blow over” at the 1928 Houston convention. Knott was poking fun at the fact that America was still not in agreement about the law against alcohol. The whole controversy ended up “blowing over” in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act which amended the Volstead Act.

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. “What Actually Happens at the U.S. Presidential Conventions?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 10 July 2016,

“Franklin D. Roosevelt: Campaign Address on Prohibition in Sea Girt, New Jersey – August 27, 1932.” The American Presidency Project,

“John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941).” U.S. Senate: John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941), 12 Jan. 2017,

Knott, John. “Weather Forecast For Houston: Cloudy, Probably Showers.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 24 May 1932. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John F., Cartoon Scrapbook. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas.

“Prohibition Repealed 1920-1933.” Historic Events for Students: The Great Depression, edited by Richard C. Hanes and Sharon M. Hanes, vol. 3, Gale, 2002, pp. 1-32. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

“THE PROHIBITION QUESTION.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Jul 15, 1928, pp. 1, ProQuest,

“The Real Reason for FDR’s Popularity | Mark Thornton.” Mises Institute, 19 Oct. 2010,

“United States History.” Election of 1928: High water mark for Republicans,

“Wets Pour It On” Dallas Morning News, 24 May. 1932. Editorial. Section 2, page 2.

“1928 Conventions.” National Party Conventions 1831-2008, CQ Press, 2010, pp. 111-113. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

“1932 Conventions.” National Party Conventions 1831-2008, CQ Press, 2010, pp. 113-116. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

Will Trump’s Anti-Mexicans Plan Stand?

Donald Trump holds up a dividing wall, the “Anti-Mexican Plan,” to prevent trucks from crossing the border and to keep Mexicans out of the USA.
Donald Trump holds up a dividing wall, the “Anti-Mexican Plan,” to prevent trucks from crossing the border and to keep Mexicans out of the USA.


Mexican-American relations have always experienced ups and downs. However, with the election of the 45th U.S. President, Donald J. Trump, Mexican-American relations are at a dangerously low point due to his unique governing style. When Trump announced his presidential bid, he infamously claimed that Mexico is “not sending their best,” but they are sending “people that have lots of problems” (“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign”). Furthermore, he argued that Mexicans crossing the border were “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime” (“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign”). Thus, bilateral relations between Mexico and America have become rocky once again, due to Trump’s rhetoric. He insists on building a wall — funded by Mexico — between the USA and Mexico to create a physical divide and separate the two countries. Under the Trump Administration and through executive orders, the Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to restrict and reduce immigration — i.e. announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, terminating Temporary Protected Status, and enhancing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Bernal). Multiple issues — i.e. disagreement over trade agreement rules; trade between the two countries; and environment protections — have been exacerbated by Trump’s degrading campaign rhetoric and hardline policies towards people of Mexican heritage.

All of these contentious diplomatic topics are depicted in Nath Parish’s political cartoon, “Mexico/USA: The Wall of Contention” (Parish). The cartoon illustrates the border between Mexico and America. Donald Trump is holding up a wall that reads “ANTI-MEXICAN PLAN” and stopping the trucks behind him from crossing the border. The trucks behind Trump represent political subjects currently causing tensions between Mexico and America.

An article, “How Mexico Deals with Trump” published by The New Yorker in 2017 further describes the feeling of mutual prejudice between America and Mexico. The article explains that, “Trump’s insults and threats have made him a figure of loathing” considering “rants about Mexico were… a regular feature of is campaign events” (Anderson). When Trump announced that he would be running for President he “began his assault of Mexico” (Anderson). Despite Trump’s degrading comments toward Hispanic people, President Enrique Peña Nieto made the decision “to invite Trump to Mexico” (Anderson). However, after returning to the United States, Trump “humiliated his host by promising at a rally that he still planned to build the wall and to have Mexico pay for it” (Anderson). Mexico was furious after they heard Trump’s remarks and retaliated with a protest. The Mexican citizens had posters that read “Mexico Deserves Respect” and chanted “Make America Hate Again” (Anderson).

Mexican-American issues in the past have stemmed from a dynamic in which “Americans didn’t know how to listen and Mexicans didn’t know how to speak up” (Sarukhan). Trump’s openly  negative view of Mexico along with his “‘my way or the highway’ approach” (Sarukhan) has increased rocky bilateral relations between the two countries. With Trump’s demanding tactics of governing, this idea of listening and understanding has been disregarded leading to “President Enrique Peña Nieto cancel[ing] of his trip to initiate talks with Trump” (Sarukhan).

With no regard for the long term political implications of his words and actions, Trump continues to use scare tactics during speeches and reelection rallies that harm relations with neighboring countries. He has allowed Mexican-American bilateral relations to disintegrate throughout the course of his campaign and his presidency. Trump’s stubborn leadership tactics have led to problems involving trade agreement rules, commerce between the two countries, and environmental protections.

In Parish’s political cartoon the first point of contention that is written on a truck trying to cross the border is World Trade Organization rules. WTO is a “trade related entity” that “pertains to the whole globe” while the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement is a “trade related entity” that is just related to the “North American region” (“Difference Between”). Therefore, the USA and Mexico are monitored by both the WTO and NAFTA. Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA and raise the border adjustment tax “about 20 percent on Mexican imports” (Afesorgbor). However, this implementation of a tariff “will contravene WTO principles that stipulate non-discrimination between WTO member countries” (Afesorgbor). Therefore, Trump’s plan to raise tariffs on Mexico will probably not be feasible. The issue of money and reorganizing NAFTA is creating a bigger wedge between the two countries as Trump tries to build up America by taking advantage of Mexico.

An additional problem illustrated in the modern political cartoon is commerce. Trade between Mexico and the United States “totaled an estimated $616.6 billion in 2017” (“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts”). Yet, Donald Trump wants to renegotiate trade agreements in order to further benefit the United States. Although Mexico is the United State’s “3rd largest goods trading partner,” (“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts”) talk of building a wall has pushed Mexico to start “pivoting away from a highly-dependent trading relationship with the United States” (Mills). Mexico has began to pull away from the U.S. and make a Plan B meeting with “European Union officials, with both sides eager to accelerate trade talks” (Mills). As Trump tries to better the American economy, he is driving a larger wedge between the United States and Mexico impacting the overall relationship between the two countries.

Yet another problem that contributes to the tenuous relationship between Mexico and America is the lackluster environmental protection offered by President Trump. Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA is clearly impacted by the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and by putting “multinational corporations’ narrow interests first” (Warren) while neglecting family farms and the environment. TPP was a trade agreement that “aimed to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth” (“TPP: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?”). While Trump focuses on factors that the TPP focused on he “intend[s] to curb environmental, climate, and other important regulations” (Warren) causing issues with the government’s role of creating environmental protection tactics. Trump’s stance of trade negotiation is heavily based on the United States, therefore, again neglecting Mexico’s needs, creating a bigger gap between the two countries.

Trump campaigned on the construction of a massive wall separating the United States from Mexico. However, he still faces a major problem of gaining funds in order to build this wall. By Trump promising “Mexico will pay for his wall,” (Caldwell) he has created deep-seated animosity between the two countries along with polarizing colleagues in Congress. Further conflict can be seen when Trump starts a “call-and-response exchange with the audience” at a rally in Vermont (“Trump: ‘Who’s Gonna Pay for the Wall?”). Trump calls out asking who will build the wall with the audience responding “Mexico!” This action created a larger divide not only between the individual governments, but also between the citizens of each country.

Furthermore, the way Trump has handled bilateral relations is extremely different and unprofessional compared to past Presidents. Contrary to past President, Trump has implemented new ways of dealing with bilateral relations that have caused an increase in friction between Mexico and the United States. Although Trump is on one extreme end of the spectrum, there have been Presidents such as George W. Bush, who believed Mexican-American relations were extremely important. George W. Bush was on the opposite side of the spectrum from Trump and was known for having a strong relationship with Mexico. President Bush had a “network of personal relationships [with Mexican politicians] that [was] unusual for an American President” (Sullivan).

Historically, there often have been highs and lows in the Mexican-American relationship, but there have also been stretches of time that were relatively uneventful — periods of calm between the two countries that were made possible,  due in part, to successful diplomacy. One such period of calm between Mexico and America occurred during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, when he implemented the Good Neighbor Policy. The Good Neighbor Policy is a foreign policy that “opposes any armed intervention in Latin America and aims to reassure the region that the United States will not pursue interventionist policies” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). Ultimately, the Good Neighbor Policy was constructed based on the diplomatic skills of Dwight W. Morrow, the ambassador to Mexico from 1927 to 1930.

The “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial accompanying the “New International Bridge” cartoon in the Dallas Morning News emphasized how Morrow’s “good-will and understanding” were what caused positive relations between the two countries. Dwight W. Morrow wanted to gain peace through understanding the other country. Morrow goes on to state, “we can best defend the rights of our own country when we understand the rights of other countries” (“Dwight W. Morrow”). Trump’s governing tactics are completely opposite from the political tactics illustrated in John Knott’s 1930 cartoon, “New International Bridge.” Morrow’s efforts are symbolic of the bridge that crosses over the Rio Grande as he reconnects the two countries. On the other hand, Trump does not show interest in steadying relations with Mexico as he tries to create a larger divide between the two countries by building a wall.

Overall, Donald Trump has seriously damaged the symbiotic relationship between Mexico and America due to his negative, insulting comments and hard-line policies towards Mexico. Trump’s blatant bias towards Mexico sets him apart from most previous U.S. Presidents, but not in a good way. Americans will likely be reaping the ill effects from this presidency for years to come, leaving future leaders the challenging task of reestablishing good relations that were hard fought victories exemplified in the 1930s “New International Bridge” cartoon and “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial.


Works Cited

Afesorgbor, Sylvanus Kwaku. “What If Trump Kills NAFTA? Remedies for Canada and Mexico.” The Conversation, 6 Apr. 2018,

Anderson, Jon Lee. “How Mexico Deals with Trump.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2017,

Bernal, Rafael. “Five Ways Trump Is Restricting Immigration.” TheHill, The Hill, 1 Apr. 2018,

Caldwell, Alicia. “Trump’s Border Wall With Mexico Faces All Kinds of Obstacles.” U.S.News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report,

“Difference Between.” Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects, 12 Oct.2011,

“Dwight W. Morrow.” Dallas Morning News, 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John. “New International Bridge.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Mills , Curt. “Mexico Pivots Away From U.S. on Trade.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S.News & World Report, 4 Apr. 2017,

Nelson, Louis. “Trump Attacks Canada and Mexico over Trade.” POLITICO, 5 Mar.2018,

Paresh, Nath. “Mexico/USA: The Wall of Contention” Cartoon. The Khaleej Times[Inde/India] 30 January 2017. Cagle Cartoons. Web. 18 April 2018.

Sarukhan, Arturo. “Opinion | The U.S.-Mexico Relationship Is Dangerously on the Edge.”The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Jan. 2017,

Sullivan, Kevin. “Bush’s Relations With Mexico Rooted in Symbols, Friendship.” TheWashington Post, WP Company, 13 Feb. 2001,

“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign.” Newsday, Newsday, 20 Jan. 2017,

“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

“TPP: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?” BBC News, BBC, 23 Jan.2017,

“Trump: ‘Who’s Gonna Pay for the Wall?’.” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, 7 Jan.2016,

“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts.” Mexico | United States Trade Representative,

Warren, William. “NAFTA Renegotiation Threatens Family Farmers and the Environment • Friends of the Earth.” Friends of the Earth, 28 Nov. 2017,



Dwight W. Morrow’s Positive Impacts on Mexican-American Relations

The bridge crossing over the Rio Grande illustrates the importance of cooperative Mexican-American relations.
The bridge crossing over the Rio Grande illustrates the importance of cooperative Mexican-American relations.


In 1930 the United States was still recovering from its involvement in the first World War when the Great Depression hit. The Mexican economy also began to suffer because it was dependent on trade with the United States. The Great Depression caused tension in the American job market because Mexican workers were viewed as competition for jobs. Early on, Mexican workers started to feel prejudice against them, which culminated the mass repatriation of 1929. Another major U.S. economic concern during the Great Depression was fear that Mexico would expropriate all of the petroleum resources they had, driving United States investors out of Mexico. This heightened conflict in the two countries’ bilateral relationship led to Dwight W. Morrow’s appointment as Ambassador to Mexico. John Knott’s political cartoon, “New International Bridge,” published in 1930 in the Dallas Morning News, depicts border tensions between Mexico and the United States and illustrates the diplomatic issues Morrow had to overcome with Mexico. The accompanying editorial, “Dwight W. Morrow,” explains the positive characteristics Morrow exemplified and how his unconventional leadership tactics shaped future politics and diplomacy.

The U.S. petroleum oil business began to boom in January of 1901 with the discovery of the Spindletop Oilfield which sat on a salt dome formation south of Beaumont, Texas (“Spindletop”). After many failed attempts, all the hard work of the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company finally paid off. The company eventually struck oil and estimated that they produced around 100,000 barrels per day (Wooster). In an effort to find similar oil deposits, investors spent billions of dollars in search of more petroleum resources all over Texas. As a result, the Texas economy flourished, bringing thousands of people in search of work to the South (Wooster). Despite a flourishing economy, conflict surrounding oil increased. Due to overproduction of petroleum, exceeding quotas became an issue driving the price of oil down. However, as the U.S. government tried to regulate the oil industry, a rush of drilling occurred leading to national guardsmen being sent to shut down and regulate oil wells (Gard).

Due to the fact that American oil companies also had significant investments in Mexico, they feared Mexico would expropriated their oil “based on the language in the Mexican Constitution”  (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution “declared that the country’s land and all of its natural resources were the patrimony of the Mexican nation and could only be used by foreigners with the government’s consent” (Keller). The United States protested the idea of oil expropriation because it feared Mexico would nationalize all of the petroleum oil reserves on its land. This fear immediately lead to political leaders signing the  Bucareli Agreement of 1923 which protected the investments of foreign investors from the Mexican government (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). Although this agreement was implemented, questions still surfaced about foreign investments in Mexico, which caused President Calvin Coolidge to take action. In 1927 Coolidge appointed Dwight W. Morrow as ambassador. He began his journey to help the two countries overcome their differences and communicate more effectively about oil and other issues in the bilateral relationship. (“MORROW APPOINTED AMBASSADOR IN 1927″).

Obviously, oil was a huge issue causing tensions between Mexico and America in 1930. To illustrate the point, cartoonist John Knott replaced the river of “water” that runs under the bridge with oil, further making oil a barrier between the two countries. The Rio Grande is the natural border between the United States and Mexico. However, Knott illustrated the division between the two countries with a messy, toxic substance, further showing the relationship between America and Mexico as a “sticky” one.

A second point of major diplomatic contention dealt with the exacerbated economic woes of the  Great Depression. Mexico depended heavily on the United States economy. Therefore, when the American economy suffered, it magnified the economic suffering in Mexico. Consequently, during the Great Depression Mexican workers in the United States were viewed as competition for jobs and wages in the United States. Therefore, tensions escalated and led to a “massive repatriation of Mexicans from the United States” (Aguila). During the Depression, “more than a million people of Mexican descent were sent to Mexico” due to the political climate and to feelings of “prejudice” against them (“America’s Forgotten History”). Along with repatriation and people returning to Mexico, Mexico took another hit from America due to the fact that their economy was “built almost entirely” around the United States (Aguila). At that point Mexican-American conflicts increased as both countries’ economies continued to struggle.

This division between Mexico and America over economic competition and labor repatriation was also illustrated in Knott’s cartoon. The words “Rio Prejudice” are flowing through the river that separates the two countries, further illustrating Mexico’s feelings of discrimination during the Great Depression. Ambassador Morrow’s importance was also depicted in the cartoon. He was the “builder of the bridge” that stretched over the river, and the bridge symbolized his efforts to overcome prejudice accusations against the U.S. and strengthen the overall relationship between the two countries.

Morrow was originally appointed ambassador because relations were tense due to “Mexican attacks on the American oil industry and land-holders” (“Dwight Whitley Morrow”). While his “diplomacy was unconventional,” it was nonetheless successful. For example, he had breakfast with the President of Mexico at his private ranch and accompanied him on trips (“Dwight Whitley Morrow”). Morrow ultimately strengthened relations with Mexico by “building up goodwill” and having a “knack for understanding views other than his own” (“Dwight Whitley Morrow”). Due to Morrow’s unconventional tactics he became responsible for mending the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico in the 1930’s.

As illustrated in Knott’s political cartoon, Dwight Morrow was the architect of the diplomatic bridge. He was able to reconstruct relations between the two countries due to his “good-will and understanding.” Those two words, inscribed on the bridge, directly parallel how Ambassador Morrow was described in his biography (“Dwight Whitley Morrow”).

The “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial in the Dallas Morning News, accompanied by the “New International Bridge” political cartoon, further displayed the positive influence of Dwight Morrow and allowed both Mexico and America to understand his vital role in mending relations between the two counties. In his last ambassadorial radio address, Morrow stated, “that other men have as much pride of their Nation as we have in our own” and that “we can best defend the rights of our own country when we understand the rights of other countries” (“Dwight W. Morrow”). The “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial reiterates the fact that Morrow’s tactics “set standards worthy of imitation” and that these tactics “strengthen[ed] friendships and the ties of peace among Nations” (“Dwight W. Morrow”).

Morrow’s diplomatic actions as ambassador foreshadowed the Good Neighbor Policy implemented by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Good Neighbor Policy was a foreign policy enacted in order to engage in equal exchanges with Latin America (“Good Neighbor Policy, 1933.”).The Good Neighbor Policy “opposes any armed intervention in Latin America and aims to reassure the region that the United States will not pursue interventionist policies” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). In Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural speech he stated, “I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”).

Thanks to the implementation of the Good Neighbor Policy, Roosevelt avoided invading Mexico when they eventually nationalized petroleum resources in 1938 in violation of the Bucareli Treaty. Despite their violation of that agreement, the Good Neighbor Policy encouraged better relations between the two countries during World War II. For example, Mexico officially declared war against the Axis Powers “following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). This benefited the United States by having “Mexican pilots fight alongside the U.S. Air Force” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”) during World War II. By 1944 Mexican-American relations were on the uptick when Mexico agreed to “pay U.S. oil companies $24 million plus interest for properties expropriated in 1938” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). Overall, John Knott’s cartoon, “New International Bridge,” created a snapshot of the multitude of political issues within the 1930’s-era political climate and highlighted how Dwight Morrow was responsible for positively influencing foreign relations.

Works Cited

AGUILA, MARCOS T. “Mexico, Great Depression in.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, edited by Robert S. McElvaine, vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, pp. 612-617. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.

“America’s Forgotten History.” NPR, NPR, 10 Sept. 2015,

Copeland, Cody. “Mexico–United States Immigration.” Immigration and Migration: In Context, edited by Thomas Riggs and Kathleen J. Edgar, vol. 2, Gale, 2018, pp. 538-543. In Context Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.

“Dwight W. Morrow.” Dallas Morning News, 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

“Dwight Whitney Morrow.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., vol. 11, Gale, 2004, pp. 190-191. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.

Gard, Wayne. “HOT OIL.” GARD, WAYNE, 15 June 2010,

Keller, Renata. “U.S.-Mexican Relations from Independence to the Present.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, 8 June 2017,

Knott, John. “New International Bridge.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

“MORROW APPOINTED AMBASSADOR IN 1927.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Dec 01, 1929, pp. 28, ProQuest

“Morrow Papers [Microform], 1877-1933 (Bulk: 1900-1931).” Five College Archivesand Manuscript Collections,,5068.1.

“Spindletop.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,

“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

Wooster, Robert, and Christine Moor. “SPINDLETOP OILFIELD.” SANDERS, CHRISTINE MOOR and WOOSTER, ROBERT, 15 June 2010,



What This Congress Needs

Hoover; appropriations; balance budget
President Herbert Hoover forces Speaker of the House, John Nance Garner, to work on government expenses, the budget, and appropriations.

March 4, 1929: That was the day Herbert Hoover was elected President of the United States. It was also just seven short months before the start of the Great Depression. As unexpected as the Great Depression was, President Hoover thought he knew exactly what needed to happen. He was “confident that the economy would recover quickest without tampering with the Federal Government” (Kennedy). He believed in the traditional American values of individualism, free enterprise, and a decentralized government. Hoover was trying to kill two birds with one stone: cut taxes while also doubling spending for public works programs. Yet while Hoover was President, the country went into the deepest bankruptcy ever experienced. Critics said “he simply could not overcome his fiscal conservatism,” and that, “federal relief programs would undercut core American values with irretrievable negative consequences” (Kennedy).  Speaker of the House, John Nance Garner, attempted to help Hoover by releasing a bill of his own, which caused outrage with President Hoover. Hoover placed tariffs, started corporations, signed bills, and raised the budget significantly but it was not enough to avoid the worst economic downturn in American history.

Right after the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929, Hoover asked Congress for a $160 million tax cut while also doubling spending for the construction of public buildings, dams, highways, and harbors (Kennedy). Initially, he was praised for his efforts because they seemed to be working. While citizens were pleased with the efforts made by their President, unemployment was at its highest record levels. Ironically, Hoover was criticized for his efforts on public work projects which were formed to create jobs, but instead it caused more unemployment.

As the Depression worsened, “Hoover failed to recognize the severity of the situation or leverage the power of the federal government to squarely address it” (History). People accused Hoover of being insensitive toward the suffering of millions of Americans who had nothing. He vetoed many bills that some believe would have brought the country out of its hole. During his presidency, he “vetoed thirty-seven bills, of which twenty-one were regular vetoes and sixteen were pocket vetoes” (Senate).

In 1930, Hoover infamously signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff which “virtually closed the [US] borders to foreign goods and ignited a vicious international trade war,” all while the Great Depression was just beginning (Reed). The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was known as President Hoover’s crowning folly during his presidency. One of Hoover’s governing philosophies was limitation of the federal government. When the Great Depression worsened, America was desperately calling for the intervention of the federal government, but Hoover refused, claiming it would be “steps towards socialism” (Hoover). Hoover believed that what the American people wanted from the federal government would help in the short-term but not long-term. Hoover’s way of running a failing nation irritated Democrats and even some in his own political party. He was under great scrutiny to keep this nation above water, but instead it was just sinking deeper and deeper.

At this point, the Dust Bowl was also occurring, a 10-year drought that caused Hoover to recommend large appropriations for loans to rehabilitate agriculture. A large number of farmers were planting crops, to top, which led soil to become too dry with aridity and erosion, which made great swaths of land unsustainable for crops. Hoover was cutting money from other government agencies in order to fulfill the agriculture loss. During this desperate time, if land would had been more sustainable for crops, farmers would have had more jobs.

Although Hoover’s efforts were noted by the general public, many viewed these actions as too little and too late. His plans for saving money failed miserably. When Hoover “took office, the federal budget was $3.1 billion” (The Washington Post). In order to balance the budget, Hoover signed the Revenue Act of 1932 which “increased American taxes greatly” and “further discourage[d] spending” (Romer and Pells). With the hope that the Revenue Act of 1932 would make a difference, the federal government continued to run a budget deficit. Hoover’s “last budget, Fiscal 1933, was $4.6 billion” which was drastic increase in just four years (The Washington Post).

Hoover’s political rival, Speaker of the House, John Nance Garner, had a different approach to balancing the budget. His plan was to enforce a national sales tax, which was not on President Hoover’s agenda. Citizens were getting so fed up with the amount of money the US had lost that they created the “Hoover flag,” which was an empty pocket turned inside out, representing citizens lack of money (Phelps).

President Hoover was a Republican while Speaker John Nance Garner was a Democrat, which automatically caused tension between the two. In the beginning of his term as Democratic Speaker of the House, Garner was known for his more “conservative and independent view of major economic questions” (Kennedy). However, as he grew into his position, he became supportive of federal intervention in economic affairs. In his first few months as Speaker, he tried to cooperate with President Hoover’s economic programs such as the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Glass-Steagall banking bills.
In order to bring confidence back to businesses, Hoover formed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. It loaned public money directly to businesses that were struggling, with most of the funds allocated to banks, insurance companies, and railroads. The Glass-Steagall banking bill was an act that separated investment and commercial banking activities (Romer and Pells).

By 1932, however, Garner lost his patience with the lack of change that Hoover had made and he was determined to “repudiate Hoover’s programs” (Senate). Considering Garner’s conservative characteristics as Speaker, Garner became more assertive and offered a federal relief spending bill of his own. “Given his reluctance to offer his own proposals and his long record of opposition to increased government spending,” Garner went against Hoover, whom he had respected his whole professional career (Senate). Hoover immediately vetoed the bill calling it “the most gigantic pork barrel raid ever proposed to an American Congress!” (The Washington Post). After Garner’s efforts to increase government spending, the relationship between Hoover and Garner would never be the same. People were losing money fast and the United States was falling more and more into bankruptcy.

During this time, many cartoons and editorials were being printed in all newspapers regarding the Great Depression and President Hoover. For example, the author of an editorial regarding Hoover and his presidency, “Mr. Hoover Reproves,” in the Dallas Morning News, somewhat favored the efforts of President Hoover and agreed with the lengths to which he had gone for the US (“Mr. Hoover Reproves”). However, the editorial also had a tone of reprimanding the House of Representatives for fiscal irresponsibility: “the House of Representatives [left] undone the things which it ought to have done and in doing things which it ought not to have done” (“Mr. Hoover Reproves”) The editorial mentions the Goldsborough Bill, which initially, “Mr. Hoover paid his respects to” (“Mr. Hoover Reproves”). The Bill stated, “that the average purchasing power” as established by the Department of Labor in the wholesale markets, “shall be restored and maintained by the control of the volume of credit and currency” (Time). Once Hoover learned more about the Goldsborough Bill, however, he responded back to Congress and told them if the measures were to reach him again, he would veto it right away. The editorial primed the reader for understanding current events that were happening when the cartoon, “What This Congress Needs” by John Knott, was published (Knott).

Knott’s illustration depicts President Hoover standing over and holding onto the collar of an obviously distressed looking man who is John Nance Garner. Garner is portrayed writing on three different government papers with the titles “Reduce Government Expenses,” “Balance Budget,” and “Cut Appropriations” (Knott). Those were Hoover’s three main goals during his presidency. President Hoover is saying, “Do the job right, or else—” with a stern look on his face (Knott). He is depicted as a tall and large man compared to the small, timid Garner sitting at the table. Garner represented the House of Representatives as a whole, which explains why Hoover said, “Do the job right, or else—” because the President had lost trust in the Speaker after he a proposed a bill opposing what Hoover believed (Knott).

President Hoover is seen holding a large bottle of castor oil. During the Great Depression many citizens used castor oil as a home remedy for stomach aches. However, people avoided it at all costs because castor oil’s taste was so foul. President Hoover said, “Do the job right, or else,” because no one wanted to drink the oil, so he was threatening Garner (Knott). If Garner did not “do the job right”, according to Hoover, then he was going to make Garner drink the castor oil medicine.

Hoover’s presidency was not what he expected when coming into office. He tried fixing an economically unstable nation by raising the budget, cutting appropriations, placing tariffs, and starting financial aid programs/corporations in the hope of restoring America back to its financial stability and prosperity. Speaker Garner attempted to help the nation on his own, but that was not possible without the support of the President. The cartoon “What This Congress Needs,” and the accompanying editorial helped readers interpret the current events during Hoover’s presidency (Knott). Little did America know that nearly eighty years later, the US would experience another financial crisis, the 2008 Great Recession.

Works Cited: Staff. “Herbert Hoover.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

Hoover, Herbert. “The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.” Herbert Hoover on the Great Depression and New Deal, 19931-1993. Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History,

Knott, John. What This Congress Needs. 7 May. 1932, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, Austin. Section 2, page 2.

Kennedy, Susan Estabrook. “Hoover, Herbert.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, edited by Robert S. McElvaine, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, New York, 2004, pp. 458–465. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 27 Mar. 2018.

“Mr. Hoover Reproves.” Dallas Morning News, 7 May. 1932. Editorial. Section 2, page 2.

Phelps, Shirelle, and Jeffrey Lehman, editors. “Hoover, Herbert Clark.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed., vol. 5, Gale, Detroit, 2005, pp. 287–289.Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 27 Mar. 2018.

Reed, Lawrence. “The Greatest Spending Administration in All of History.” Mackinac, 1 Jan. 1998,

Romer, Christina D., and Richard H. Pells. “Great Depression.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2 Feb. 2018,

Senate. “John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1942). U.S. Senate: John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941), 12 Jan. 2017,

Senate. “Vetoes.” U.S. Senate: Vetoes, United States Senate, 5 Apr. 2018,

Time. “National Affairs: Goldsborough Bill.” Time, Time Inc., 16 May 1932,,9171,846980,00.html.

The Washington Post. “Hoover’s ‘Austerity’ Program.” Washington Post, the, Jan. 0003. EBSCOhost,ezproxy.lib.utexas.edy/login?url=

Germany’s Christmas Tree

A very meager and sad looking Christmas tree sits behind a broken window. The ornaments are chain links, solders fighting depciting communism and fascicm, and presents with the words reparations, debt and unemployment written on the outside. A candle of "hope" sits at the top of the Christmas tree.
A very meager and sad looking Christmas tree sits behind a broken window. The ornaments are chain links, solders fighting depicting communism and fascism, and presents with the words reparations, debt and unemployment written on the outside. A candle labeled “hope” sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Description: This political cartoon from the early 1930s, depicts a Christmas tree with ornaments of war, but with one small glimmer of hope – that of a candle topping the tree. It is referring to the hope that France and Germany will work out their differences regarding reparations in the post WWI landscape.

This cartoon is humorous because of it’s contrasts between the usually happy celebrations of Christmas time with the sad, meager tree and the angry, combative “ornaments that are hung on the lowest branches – perhaps implying the lowest hanging fruit and thus  the most likely to occur.


John F. Knott Cartoon Scrapbook, [ca. 1930-1942], 1952, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Reparations.” Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction. Ed. John Merriman and Jay Winter. Vol. 4. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. 2205-2209. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Oct. 2014.

A Timely Shower Down on the Farm

"A Timely Shower Down on the Farm;" depiction of a farmer and his family looking up to a rainy sky. The cloud has the words "Soil Conservation" in it, while the words "$500,000,000" are in the rain. The farmer says, "The soil sure needs it."
Knott’s cartoon predicts the effects of the Soil Conservation Bill on the farmers that it will assist.

A Timely Shower Down on the Farm by John Francis Knott –
Saturday, February 29, 1936

This political cartoon pictured above and entitled “A Timely Shower Down on the Farm” is in reference to the Soil Conservation Bill, which is also known as the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936, which was passed on February 29 of 1936, the same day that this newspaper was first printed (“Soil Conservation Bill”). This bill was passed by the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, also commonly called “FDR.”

President Roosevelt was known for his vast expansion of government aid programs, in particular the New Deal, which was a series of federal aid programs intended to help the public recover from the economic downturn in the United States during the 1930s known as the Great Depression. Some of these programs include the Social Security act, which helped the unemployed by giving them money to live on in the form of pensions; the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps, which helped to remove the excess amount of people looking for work that were in cities at the, as well as provide money for families; and the AAA or Agricultural Adjustment Act, which protected farmers from the cost of their crops dropping by providing subsidies to them.

The Soil Conservation Bill was largely put in place as a replacement of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which was ruled unconstitutional in the month prior to the passing of this bill (“Seventy-Fourth Congress”); as such, the goal of the Soil Conservation Bill, much like that of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, was to financially support farmers so that they would grow more soil-conserving crops to help prevent more soil erosion, a great problem in the 1930s due to the Dust Bowl (Gregg), a series of severe dust storms and droughts that plagued farmers throughout the 1930s.

The article which accompanies this cartoon, simply entitled “Soil Conservation Bill,” talks about the bill and its goal to prevent further soil erosion by reducing the farmers’ crops and compensating them for the resulting loss in income. Because the newspaper that this article and cartoon were printed in was first run the day the Soil Conservation Bill was passed, the writer and cartoonist could not have known whether President Roosevelt would sign the bill. However it seems clear that he will, considering the sort of government aid programs President Roosevelt has approved in the past. The author of the article even goes as far as to say that it is “doubtless” that President Roosevelt will sign the bill (“Soil Conservation Bill”).

The humor of this cartoon is derived from the use of metaphors.

The political cartoon depicts a farmer and his family on their farm, which serves to represent the farmer’s livelihood, which seems to be experiencing a drought as shown by the leafless and perhaps dead tree in the background as well as the apparent lack of grass (Knott). This is representative of the farmers’ lack of income as well as the more literal effect of the Dust Bowl. The farmer remarks that the soil needs the rain (Knott), which is used to represent the money given to the farmers by the Soil Conservation Bill “cloud.” The name of the cartoon, “A Timely Shower Down on the Farm,” refers to the good timing of the bill in order to improve the state of not only the farmer, but also the soil.


Works Cited:

“Seventy-Fourth Congress.” Landmark Legislation, 1774-2002: Major U.S. Acts and Treaties. Stephen W. Stathis. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2003. 205-208. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

GREGG, SARA M. “Conservation Movement.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression. Ed. Robert S. McElvaine. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 203-206. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Author Not Listed. “Soil Conservation Bill.” The Dallas Morning News [Dallas] 29 Feb. 1936: n. pag. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Knott, John F. “A Timely Shower Down on the Farm.” Cartoon. The Dallas Morning News [Dallas] 29 Feb. 1936: n. pag. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.