Voting in the United States

Photo #1

This photo shows men and women in line to vote in Clarendon, VA in 1924 Source
Who might this politician be? Most of the voters appear to be there in support of this “Davis”. John W. Davis won the presidential vote in the state of Virginia in 1924 and the 12 electoral votes that come with it but was not as popular outside of the southeastern states and lost the election to Calvin Coolidge.
Why are only white people shown in this photo? The 15th and 19th amendments had been passed by 1924 so it is noticeable that no black women or men are in this line. While white men and women are here and even bring their children. What does that tell us about the ability to vote in this era?

Photo #2

This photo shows black men in various types of clothing lined up to cast their votes. Source
What votes are we witnessing here? The 15th amendment was ratified in 1870 and this date shows that “The first vote” took place in 1867.
What point is the artist making with the characters’ clothing? We see a labor with his tools, a nicer dressed gentleman, and a soldier. It seems to me the artist wanted to emphasize the inclusiveness that the 15th amendment offered by showing that it applied to black men from various walks of life.

Photo #3

This cartoon shows a man labeled “Graft Politics” paying a man who is lined up to vote while silencing a woman who is at home with her children. Source
For the 2020 election, we’ve heard a lot about mail-in ballot fraud and foreign interference. What were the election corruption and voter fraud concerns in this era? The man labeled “Graft politics” is paying a man labeled “floater” to show that corrupt political operatives were backhandedly buying votes while at the same time (using their other hand) to suppress women’s suffrage.
“Shall women vote? No, they might disturb the order of things” What is the artist saying with this statement? To me it seems to be critical of people who would say that women voting would disturb the order of things. Since he shows that the order of things is full of corruption as it is.

3 Replies to “Voting in the United States”

  1. Such a timely idea – as we watch the 2020 election get politicized beyond belief. Good selection of images and crops / observations.

    The first image is very insightful. I did a bit of research and if Clarendon is in fact part of Arlington VA, it was one-third black back then. So where were they? And how nicely dressed all these white folks are.

    The Harper’s image is a classic and I like the way you highlight the importance of dress in the message. The Puck cartoon is powerful. Not one I’ve seen. The contrasts between the “chained woman denied the vote” and the hobos getting paid to vote is striking. Also interesting to look at the little vignette images around the woman that further attest to her enslavement.

  2. Hi Alex! Voting in the United States is such an important task. Some people just bypass it and not having a clue what will happen later on. It is our job as citizens of the U.S. to make the choices that we want. If there is something that needs to be changed, let us unite together and change history

  3. I really liked how you chose pictures that had a lot going on in them with a lot of subtle (and obvious) symbolism. I think this activity is especially great for these complex pictures because it helps the students narrow in on what the image is really getting at. The history of voting is a really interesting topic that is still applicable today and looking at previous imagery of it is super insightful to exactly how much has changed or hasn’t changed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.