17 vintage political cartoons to take your mind off of this year's election

This year's election has been quiet controversial and has given many artists a plethora of material to use for inspiration. Covers of magazines with outlandish depictions of presidential candidates, as well as vulgar statues, have been see by millions all over the world. In honor of the upcoming election on November 8th, (don't forget to cast your vote!) take a break from this election and see how those before us have expressed themselves about issues of the time, presidencies, and more with these vintage cartoons.

Check out the great illustrations below:

Vintage political cartoons
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Vintage political cartoons

Two political cartoons on one sheet: cartoon on left by Clifford Berryman published in the Washington Star, April 28, 1907, shows Taft leaving a dog labeled "Politics" behind in Washington, D.C., as he travels to Ohio; cartoon on right by Charles Lewis Bartholomew published in the Minneapolis Journal, April 27, 1907, shows Taft as a stone rolling down a hill over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Philippines but gathering no moss.

Drawn by: Clifford Kennedy Berryman and Charles Lewes Bartholomew

photo credit: Library of Congress

The Political Gymnasium

Photo Credit: Currier & Ives, New York, 1860/ Library of Congress

'The political sphynx'

published 1888

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

James G. Blaine is depicted  as the head of a tapeworm made up of various government scandals over a map of the United States.

photo credit: Chicago Bank Note Co.

In a rare pro-Democrat cartoon presidential aspirant George Brinton McClellan is portrayed as the intermediary between Abraham Lincoln and Confederacy president Jefferson Davis. Gen. McClellan is in the center acting as a go-between in a tug-of-war over a "Map of the United States" engaged in by Lincoln (left) and Davis. He holds the two men by their lapels and asserts, "The Union must be preserved at all hazards!" Lincoln tugs at the northern side of the map, saying, "No peace without abolition." Davis pulls at the southern portion, advocating, "No peace without Separation!!"

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Print shows President Chester A. Arthur as a magician on a stage, pulling cards out of a hat and tossing them into the audience; the cards are labeled "Secretary of Navy, Foreign Minister, Interior, Consulate, Collectorship, Soft Soap, Minister to Turkey, Quashed Endictment, Secretary of War, Protection, Postmaster, Promises, Gratitude, [and] Reciprocity". On the stage are other magic devices, a "Great Machine Trick" showing cards and labeled "New Political Deal Trick", a wheel labeled "Stalwartism Neutrality Halfbreedism", a bottle labeled "Ever-lasting Patronage Bottle", a cone labeled "Great Veto Extinguish Trick", and a drum labeled "Last Grand Trick Resignation". Among those in the audience are Carl Schurz, John A. Logan, Thomas De Witt Talmage, David Davis, Joseph W. Keifer, John P. Jones, Stephen W. Dorsey, Thomas J. Brady, William M. Evarts, Benjamin F. Butler, and Samuel J. Kirkwood.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Rival presidential nominees Lincoln and Douglas are matched in a footrace, in which Lincoln's long stride is a clear advantage. Both sprint down a path toward the U.S. Capitol, which appears in the background right. They are separated from it by a rail fence, a reference to Lincoln's popular image as a rail-splitter. Douglas, whose characteristic shortness is here exaggerated to dwarfish dimensions, wonders aloud, "How can I get over this Rail Fence." Over his shoulder he carries a cane on which hangs a jug marked "M.C.," which probably refers to the Missouri Compromise, repealed in 1854 largely through Douglas's efforts. As he runs, playing cards spill from his pockets (suggesting perhaps a penchant for gambling). Lincoln, whose height is equally exaggerated, runs along beside him waving his hat and carrying a rail-splitter's maul over his shoulder. He says confidently, "It [i.e., the rail fence] can't sto\p me for I built it." From the fence on the far right a black youth taunts Douglas, "You can find me in dis yer Fence Massa Duglis." The last is evidently a reference to the slavery question central to the election campaign. The print probably appeared late in the campaign, as the Library's impression was deposited for copyright on September 21, 1860. The footrace image is also used in a similar cartoon discussed by Wilson, entitled "A Political Race"

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Cartoon showing Theodore Roosevelt carrying a bat or stick, attempting to "Shoo" a dog labelled "3rd term".

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Print of cartoon drawing shows Uncle Sam with his left hand on the left shoulder of Theodore Roosevelt, endorsing him for a second term as president. The Republican Party circulated this cartoon widely during the election year.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Editorial cartoon shows President Carter watching in dismay as Senator Teddy Kennedy approaches carrying two large blocks of ice labeled "Blame for Cold War" and "Wage-Price Freeze." In January 1980, Kennedy, who was opposing Carter for the presidential nomination, gave a major speech at Georgetown University in which he attacked Carter for not being sufficiently firm with the Communists and for not taking steps to control inflation. "The Iceman Cometh" was a play by Eugene O'Neill about a group of homeless misfits who are temporarily beguiled by a flashy salesman who turns out to be mentally deranged. Many people believed in early 1980 that the charismatic Kennedy had a good chance of defeating Carter who was viewed as incompetent.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Political corruption in New York City, Demcratic Party, Tammany control; original caption 'The Great New York Octopus--Politics on Manhattan Island,' a political cartoon published circa 1877. (Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)
The Appomattox of the third termers, unconditional surrender' Cartoon showing Ulysses S. Grant, wearing Civil War uniform, in front of tents 'Camp Bourbon,' 'post trading tent,' etc., and Belknap, Cameron, Williams, and Murphy, as soldiers with unhappy faces, handing damaged sword 'IIId. term imperialism' to James Garfield, who is holding paper 'for nomination President Garfield,' in front of 'Fort Alliance (anti-third-term).' (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)
1881 political cartoon Charles Julius Guiteau approaching President Garfield at the White House to ask for a diplomatic post. After he was not offered one, Guiteau assassinated Garfield in 1881.
(Original Caption) 'Will the Cat Do It?' - Political cartoon portraying President Ulysses S. Grant as a cay eyeing a goldfish labelled '3rd term.' Undated lithograph (color).
A capitol nuisance' President Theodore Roosevelt sitting at a desk that is overwhelmed with papers requiring his immediate attention; reaching through the stacks of paper is a large hand labelled 'Public Receptions'. The cartoon implies that public appearances take time away from his official duties. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)
A cartoon entitled 'Overweighted', depicting US President Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) handing a heavy olive branch, representing the League of Nations, to a dove of peace, 1919. The text dialogue reads: 'President Wilson: 'Here's your olive branch, now get busy'. Dove of Peace: 'Of course I want to please everybody, but isn't this a bit thick?'. Original publication: Punch magazine, pub. 25th March 1919. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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