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.

International Propoganda

Soviet Union WWII Poster

The poster above is a Soviet Union War poster created during the Second World War. It depicts a Soviet Soldier clad in the national army attire, and holding an assault rifle. In the background, we see that a factory is pictured to be working, to what appears is, full capacity. There are also female workers, who are shown in order to maximize the war efforts from the entire Soviet nation.

This portion of the image is very similar to the American version of Uncle Sam’s famous “I want YOU for U.S. Army” poster. The writing in the top right corner translates directly to “YOU.” They eyes and pointer finger are practically the same in terms of gesture and intensity. Obviously, this may have been a direct copy from the US in order to increase participation in the Soviet war efforts. A young boy or girl who may have seen this poster may have felt a personal responsibility to contribute whatever they could in order to. guarantee Soviet success.

This cropped portion contains writing which translates into something along the lines of, “what have you done (or helped) for the front.” The front in question is obviously the Soviet war front. Once again, the purpose of the poster is to create a personal responsibility for the success or failure of the war effort. This, like many propaganda posters, is meant to touch the hearts of citizens and create emotions like guilt, patriotism, and unity, in order for them to act accordingly to the party agenda.

Nazi Party Campaign Poster

The poster above is a political campaign poster created to entice German citizens to vote for the National Party, or in this case, the Nazi party. It is dated for June 11, 1932, which is a month and a half before the Nazi Party won a majority of the German house seats. This poster is a prime example of the unity and nationalism that the Nazi party attempted to create, and embody. Although it may not have always been as the poster suggests, the Nazi party could always count on propaganda to entice citizen action.

This cropped portion of the image shows crowds of people streaming into a swastika, which was the official sign of the Nazi party. This image is meant to show the overwhelming support of the National party, whether it was accurate or not. By creating a sense that masses of citizens are backing the Nazis, the party could create a sense of FOMO or unity, which could encourage many others to back the party by implementing a simple group think strategy.

This cropped portion of the image indicates a huge 1 which indicated multiple things. Not only was the Nazi party the listed number 1 on the ballots, but they were also creating a sense of greatness and foremost supremacy. Again, as with many propaganda posters, you do not need to be something, as much as you need to embody the image of being that something. The Nazi party may not have needed to be the greatest party at the time, but if their posters could create the sense that they were, then people were more likely to buy into the propaganda.

On This Day 100 Years Ago…

On this day 100 years ago, women in the United States would have just earned the right to vote a mere ten days prior. The Suffrage Movement spanned decades, and most of the original suffragists who began their campaign in the mid 1800s would not live to see their efforts come to fruition in 1920. In order to push forward the 19th amendment after decades of struggle, members of the Suffrage Movement had to employ many political tactics to achieve their goal.

“Kaiser Wilson”

Virginia Arnold [holding Kaiser Wilson banner], 01/01/1917, Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C. (Photographer)
What connotation did the word “Kaiser” have in early twentieth century America? What was suffragists intent in using this particular word? What kind of impact did this language have

This image is from 1917, just three years after the end of the first World War. During the war, the United States under President Wilson fought against Germany in the name of freedom. Suffragists began calling President Wilson “Kaiser” to point out the hypocrisy in his support of freedom abroad before granting his female citizens full freedom at home. The word “Kaiser” would have had a deeply un-American connotation to the public at this time, and the suffragists intentionally made these comparisons to make their argument that not guaranteeing women the right to vote went against America’s democratic ideals.


[Young girls carry banners for the procession at dedication of the new National Woman’s Party headquarters at the “Old Brick Capitol” in Washington, D.C.] 01/01/1922.
What does this flag represent? What cause are these young girls supporting?

This flag was the symbol of the National Woman’s Party. If the image was in color, one would see the flag in purple, white, and yellow – the colors of the Suffrage Movement. The NWP was the last major suffrage organization to be formed, just four years prior to the passing of the nineteenth amendment. They used visual demonstrations like their flag, a “ratification banner” on which they sewed a star for every state that had already granted woman suffrage, and a variety of protests and parades to draw attention to their cause.

Peer Pressure

March of the Suffragettes [New York: Frank Harding, ©, 1912] Notated Music.
Why are these four states in particular represented on this banner? What did these states have in common?

While women’s right to vote was not granted on a national scale until 1920, many states passed their own suffrage amendments prior to that. The four states represented above were some of the earliest states to grant the right to vote to women in the late 1800s. Suffragists often pointed to the states that had already passed suffrage amendments as examples and the more states that passed their own, the more the pressure increased for a constitutional amendment to be passed.

WWI Propaganda Image Detective

Propaganda Poster 1

Lest Liberty Perish from the Face of the Earth – Buy Bonds Source
Propaganda is meant to send a message to the people viewing it, typically its meant to motivate them to think a certain way or do something. What is going on in this image? What statue is that? Who is being attacked?
What is the message of this picture? What is at stake? What does this poster want people to do? Do you think the picture as a whole is conveying its message successfully? How would you feel if you saw this?

Propaganda Poster 2

Let’s Take Care of the Poultry. I am a Fine War Hen. I Eat Little and Produce a Lot Source
What is going on in this picture? “Soignons la Basse-cour” translates to “lets take care of the poultry.” This was created by a 16 year-old girl. Why do you think she created this?
This translates to “I am a fine war hen. I eat little and produce a lot” When paired with “lets take care of the poultry” what does this poster want people to do? If this was created by a 16 year old, what does this poster say about the French war effort during WWI?
Give Your Money for Victory: Victory Means Peace Source
What is going on in this picture? What is it implying? What does it say about the Italian war effort? “Banca Italiana di Sconto” translates to “Italian Discount Bank” who are sponsoring this poster. What does the bank want people to do?
This translates to “Give Your Money for Victory: Victory Means Peace.” Based on these propaganda posters, what do you think people were most concerned about during WWI? Do you think these posters were effective ways of achieving people’s participation in the war effort? What are modern forms of propaganda and how do we spot them?