Έχει πραγματικά πολιτικό και κοινωνικό ενδιαφέρον πως στα τέλη του 19ου αιώνα η καπιταλιστική παραγωγή και η ισχυροποίηση των μονοπολίων θεμελιώνεται στην εκμετάλλευση της εργατικής τάξης. Μέσα από αυτά τα πέντε δείγματα πολιτικών σκίτσων ο ιμπεριαλισμός των ΗΠΑ γίνεται η επισφράγιση και το επιστέγασμα του καπιταλιστικού τρόπου παραγωγής πολιτικής οικονομίας.
This political cartoon, titled Hopelessly Bound to the Stake, created by Bernard Gillam and published in Puck magazine in August of 1883, depicts a working class man being burned at the stake by fire projected from the mouths of several men. Perhaps one of the more noteable flame-projecting characters is Chauncey M. Depew, an extremely influential and powerful man involved in the maintaining of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s monopoly of the railroad industry. This cartoon was created to illustrate the the suffering of the working class as well as their inability to escape the overwhelming control of monopolies.
Drawn by Joseph Keppler – a prominent Populist cartoonist for Puck, this 1889 political cartoon attracts attention to the gross power of industrial lobbies over the Senate. Emphasized in “The Bosses of the Senate”, industrialists were learning to win their monetary games through the submissive hands of government, specifically the Senate. During this era, much of industry’s monetary success sprung from coalitions formed by competinging corporations. In order to diminish the hinderence of a free market’s price flucuations (as competition favored decreasing prices), many industries formed internal alliances amongst their corporations to coordinate prices and resource allocations. From this, the monopolists benefited, but the wider public was left behind.
This cartoon was drawn by William A. Rogers and it was published on October 20, 1888 in Harper’s Weekly. Harper’s Weekly was a political magazine that addressed both foreign and domestic concerns. This cartoon was drawn at a time when large trusts were creating monopolies on industry, bringing large amounts of power to a few individuals- one of these individuals being Andrew Carnegie. He believed in the benefits of business consolidation and he had become a large business leader himself. His philosophy is demonstrated in the drawing in which each of the beasts’ horns has one of Carnegie’s investments written on it. Carnegie supported trusts and said that they may be regarded with “serene confidence.” William A. Rogers was hired by Harper’s Weekly in 1877 and he took over the political cartoon cover after Thomas Nast left. He continued Nast’s tradition of creating bold statements against the United States government. In this cartoon he uses the popular character of Uncle Sam to represent America and he uses a demonic beast to represent trusts and big business.
This cartoon, entitled “What a Funny Little Government”, was made by Horace Taylor for the September 25, 1899 issue of The Verdict. John D. Rockefeller, shown in the cartoon, was the famous oil magnate who created a powerful monopoly on the US oil industry in less than 20 years. By 1899, the Standard Oil Trust had already been formed, which allowed Rockefeller to control his monopoly completely with this, so to speak, “corporation of corporations”: the heads of each oil refinery corporation within the country, including Rockefeller himself, formed the Board of Trustees, which set equal prices, as well as production levels, for each “branch” of the board. In this illustration, Rockefeller is examining the White House and Treasury in his hand; in the background, the State Capitol building is portrayed as a giant oil refinery. The cartoon’s main motif is that big business (specifically big oil) had become extremely prevalent in late 19th century America, and it had grown so large that the government was unable to control it. Rockefeller is portrayed as a man that has become so powerful that he has dwarfed the power of the federal government.
Frederick Burr Opper was a cartoonist who worked for Puck Magazine for 18 years. His cartoons usually demonstrated his negative views on trusts and industrialists and this political cartoon is no exception. In this cartoon, he depicted William Henry Vanderbilt, a successful American businessman who was in charge of New York Central and Hudson River Railroad; Jason “Jay” Gould, who was a leading railroad developer; Cyrus West Field, who led the Atlantic Telegraph Company; and Russell Sage, who held stock in the railroad industry and also was president of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. All these successful men were affiliated with the railroad industry and this political cartoon depicts them as dividing up the country which portrays them in a negative way as it implies their immense power over the industry. This political cartoon was produced in 1885 and at this time these men had immense power in the railroad industry. It was the portrayal of their power as they are shown dividing up the entire country. They are shown negatively and for this reason, those who resent them would react positively to the cartoon and the men themselves would react negatively.