Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Political cartoonists have been a vital part of the nation's dialogue since the colonial period. Combining artistic skill, rhetorical exaggeration, and biting humor, cartoonists have a long tradition of questioning authority, drawing attention to corruption, and highlighting society's ills. In return, political cartoonists occasionally have been offered bribes, threatened with jail time, or faced with other forms of attempted coercion by those in power. Political cartoonists were particularly influential in the years following the Civil War, thanks in large part to the brilliance of cartoonist Thomas Nast, and their prominence continued through the first two decades of the twentieth century. The profession experienced another creative surge in the 1960s and 1970s, reflecting a more adversarial mood in the country as a whole. At the start of the twenty-first century, due to newspaper cutbacks, the number of political cartoonists was in decline, and the profession faced an uncertain future. A successful ...