The mid to late 1800's was a very important period of American History. This was the time when black men were no longer slaves and were considered free men. They were granted freedom, the right to vote, and the right of citizenship. Not everyone was happy with this however.
There were two main groups that were not pleased with this at all. These two groups were the White League and the Ku Klux Klan. In the political cartoon, there is a picture of a representative from each of these groups standing across from each other, shaking hands. There are several important objects and symbols presented in this cartoon.
There is the American eagle with the caption "THIS IS A WHITE MANS GOVERNMENT" under it. This basically means that the black people were viewed as inferior and white men thought of the government as no place for a black man. During the late 1860's and mid 1870's was the time when blacks were greatly discriminated against. The black people wanted to get education and live a normal life just like everyone else. However, this didn't work out quite as they planned.
The White League and the KKK wouldn't allow blacks to life a quiet life. They would attack and even murder the black people. School houses were burned down and books destroyed. Black men and women feared for their lives. These white supremacists made sure that blacks were punished. Families were torn apart due to the loss of a father or a mother.
Also in the cartoon there is the caption "The Union As It Was." This caption is saying that people wanted things to go back to the way they were, back when slavery was allowed. The cartoon shows several other symbols including the badge, the skull & crossbones, and a book. The badge represents a union. The skull & crossbones represents death and terror as seen in the man hanging in the background and the black family on the ground terrified. The book represents the education that blacks wanted to receive. The way blacks were being treated, it might have been better if they had remained slaves.
Maybe then they wouldn't have been treated so badly. This cartoon was written on October 24, 1874. It depicts the black men as they were free. The White League and KKK gave them a tough time for many years, but eventually it was put to an end. Although blacks were viewed as the inferior race, they would soon prove to be more than that.