History of political cartoons published





If the Boston Massacre were to take place today, someone would no doubt capture the event on a cell-phone camera and upload the images online within minutes. Lacking such tools, the silversmith Paul Revere took the established technology of 1770—copper engraving—and in a few weeks churned out prints depicting the attack. They sold briskly, fueled Yankee rebellion, and established a link between cartooning and American politics before the country had been formally created.

Even if hand-drawn cartoons no longer have any role in transmitting news events, the integration of cartoons into American politics is striking, and continues today in a variety of forms. The Art of Ill Will, which takes its title from a quotation from longtime Voice cartoonist Jules Feiffer, traces that history from the 18th century to the near-present, complete with full-page reproductions of more than 100 cartoons.



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