February 26th, 2009
This is a copy of a Friedrich Graetz cartoon that was published in Puck magazine on March 29, 1882. The image is titled “The anti-Chinese wall. The American wall goes up as the Chinese original goes down. It depicts many different American immigrants and minorities taking bricks from the Great Wall of China and creating a new wall with them in America. Most of the bricks are labeled with captions like “Jealousy”, “Anti-Low Wages”, and “Non-Reciprocity” among others.
Puck magazine was one of America’s first humor magazines. It consisted of political cartoons, editorials, and ads. It tended to be very Bourbon Democratic, pro German immigrant, and anti Irish immigrant.
This cartoon was a social commentary of the anti-Chinese immigrant feeling of the times. Unlike many of the other cartoons that dealt with this issue, this cartoon does not portray any Chinese. Instead, it portrays other immigrants and minorities, such as the Blacks and the Irish trying to keep them out. The portrayal of the groups is very similar to other cartoons, which also depict them as very un-human like. This comic was probably most appealing to Puck’s heavy predominately German population who had prejudices against all of the “lower races”.