Political Animals

Mark Bryant looks at the lampooning of two hugely unpopular measures imposed during the administrations of two of the United States’ most distinguished presidents.

While Britain was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars, two significant political cartoons were published in the US during the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and his successor, James Madison. They both commented on recently introduced civil legislation and in both cases the laws were rescinded shortly afterwards. By coincidence both also featured new symbolic political animals which led to the introduction of new words into the English language: they were, respectively, the Ograbme turtle (or terrapin) and, more famously, the Gerrymander.

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