Library of Congress (1934)
In this political cartoon, there are three important figures: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress, and Uncle Sam. Each of them assumes a role in the cartoon, with FDR as the doctor, Congress as the caretaker, and Uncle Sam as the patient. Uncle Sam represents a sickly America. FDR is the doctor, who has the responsibility to cure or relieve the symptoms of the depression that struck America and its people. FDR gives Uncle Sam many different kinds of “medicine,” including programs like the National Industry Recovery Act, the Civil Works Administration, and the Agricultural Adjustment Act. In addition, FDR is carrying a bag of New Deal “remedies,” which can provide even more relief for America. FDR reassures Congress that the “remedies” do not necessarily guarantee success and changes can be made.
At the time, FDR approved and passed many legislations, in hopes to fix America. Many people were doubting whether these programs would actually help or even make things worst. This political cartoon supports FDR and his policies and puts the New Deal in a positive light. This is because Uncle Sam is shown to be in good spirits, after trying the New Deal medicines. Additionally, the cartoon depicts FDR as a man, who is understanding because he knows that the programs might not work and has a bag of solutions prepared.
This assignment includes two political cartoons that analyze the New Deal, which was the primary driving legislation force behind Franklin Roosevelt's attempts to end the Great Depression through job creation and government intervention. The included cartoons both analyze viewpoints critical of FDR's administration including his relationship with the Constitution and the effectiveness of the programs themselves. The assignment page includes boxes for students to list out characters, actions, and objects present in the cartoon and a space where students are asked to make inferences after analyzing the structure of the cartoon. This assignment works well to illustrate opposition to FDR's administration and can be used as a supplemental piece, a practice guide to analyzing political cartoons in general, or a springboard to a discussion on the role of the President in government involvement.