Educator's Guide: The Arts: Political Cartoons


One very effective way to change or direct public opinion is the political cartoon. During the Civil War, newspapers on both sides tried to sway public sentiment. Northern newspapers tended to be either pro Democrat or pro Republican. Their political cartoons often reflected party doctrine


Reproduce and distribute Political Cartoons Activity Sheets. Instruct the students to examine each cartoon as they consider the following questions.

1. Do you think this cartoon appeared in a Northern or Southern publication?

2. Was the cartoon published at the beginning, middle or end of the war?

3. What clues are given in the cartoons to the political sentiment, region and time frame?

Have the students divide into teams and analyze the cartoon. Each team presents their interpretation of the cartoon to the class. Assign the students the task of drawing a cartoon from either a Northern or Southern publication concerning any aspect of the Siege of Vicksburg. Have the students collect political cartoons from their local newspaper, Time, Newsweek etc... Lead a discussion on how political cartoons are still used to sway public opinion. Have the students analyze the cartoons for party affiliation, newspaper's philosophy etc...

Classroom Activities:

  • Art
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 7 -12


The student will interpret and analyze Civil War political cartoons and compare them to present day political cartoons


  • Civil War Political Cartoon Activity Sheets.
  • Local newspapers, national new sources.

Civil War Political Cartoon Activity Sheets:

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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