Analyzing Political Cartoons

Analyzing Political Cartoons

HIS206: United States History II

Instructor: Benjamin Christensen

Explain the character(s) in the cartoon.

The character(s) displayed in the cartoon “The Big Stick in the Caribbean Sea” is composed of United States, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. These character’s all have some form of power or fulfillment in the elaborate name of the Caribbean Sea, but what do they mean?

Describe the symbols and actions the artist employs in the cartoon.

The symbols that weigh heavy turmoil in this photo is the big stick that Theodore Roosevelt is holding in his hand, because it’s composed from his speech “talk softly but carry a big stick” that he gave to many Americans in the time of need and suffrage. Another symbol that pops out and raises further questions and actions is the writing on the ships that Roosevelt is pulling around like a toy train set, because it symbols the expansion of a canal to help the military/navy for fueling and faster trading with Europe and Asia

Describe the issues the cartoon raises.

During this Era of time 1880-1920 the united states was in a position to become a new empire of power, but the only way of doing so was buy becoming the biggest power in the west hemisphere.

Analyze and explain what the cartoon says about the consequences of the Spanish American War for the countries occupied.

They are being treated the same as the Spanish occupying land that the United States wants to have some forum of economic advantage and trade over.

Describe how your understanding of the cartoon changed after doing the analysis portion of this exercise.

I understand that with power you can pretty much threaten and dominate whatever you want.


Barnes, L. & Bowles, M. (2014). The American story: Perspectives and encounters from 1877 [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

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