Behind Reconstructing Reconstruction

Essay #3*

Everyone knows the familiar “a picture paints a thousand words,” but few have put this to practical service more effectively than political cartoonists. The chapter you have been assigned features one of the most powerful cartoonist in US history, Thomas Nast. His ink both moved the people and reflected their collective attitudes and mood. Your task is to write a well-constructed and thoughtful essay (1200 word minimum) examining the Nast cartoons presented in Wheeler and Becker’s chapter “Reconstructing Reconstruction: The Political Cartoonist and the National Mood addressing the following questions:

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1) “How did Nast attempt to influence public opinion in the North regarding Reconstruction?”

2) “Did Nast change his views regarding Reconstruction between 1865 and 1876? Did public opinion change?” (If so, how?)

3) How did public opinion in the North, as reflected in the work of Thomas Nast, influence public policy?”

To complete this task successfully you must follow the directions prepared by Wheeler and Becker immediately preceding the section titled “The Method.” The section titled “Questions to Consider” offers additional assistance for examining each of the cartoons presented.


*Times Roman 12 pt. double spaced (as per ususal)

Also … remember, you do not have address EVERY cartoon, but you do have to use enough cartoons to answer the prompt completely. Please mention the cartoon title in your essay as you discuss it. FYI, I have never had a successful essay use fewer that 6 – 8 cartoons.

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