April 20th, 2009
This cartoon was published in Harper’s Weekly on February 18, 1871. Thomas Nast drew the cartoon. Thomas Nast was a Radical Republican and credited with helping Lincoln win his re-election in 1864 with a single cartoon. Nast is considered today to be one of the first great American cartoonist and was not afraid of showing his own personal feelings in his cartoons. Today he is known as being a strong advocate for equality in the United States.
The caption under the cartoon reads “Hands off, gentlemen! America means fair play for all men”. This is being said by Columbia, and is trying to protect the Chinese man from the American mobs. In the later part of the 19th century America’s west coast, especially San Francisco, was witnessing a large increase of immigrants from China. During this time many Americans felt that the immigrants would come into American and take their jobs. This fear led to many violent acts against many Chinese immigrants, and even led to the United States passing the Chinese Exclusion Act, banning many Chinese immigrants from entering the country.