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"The founders would have loved it if they'd thought of it"

By altering the U.S. flag with a cross of stars, Herb Block highlighted the debate about the meaning of the founding fathers' belief on the separation of church and state. By placing the presidential portrait next to the cross of stars, Herb Block underscored the friendly relations between President Ronald Reagan and the religious right during his second term of office.

"The founders would have loved it if they'd thought of it." Published in The Washington Post, January 24, 1985. Ink, crayon, porous point pen, and opaque white over blue pencil underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (11). Digital ID# ppmsca-11975

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"You using a pinch of salt in your recipe, dearie?"

Herb Block depicted a scene with two witches brewing potions to criticize the Eisenhower administration's efforts to "ferret out and destroy communist influence in government." The witch labeled "Civilian Employee Security Procedures" asks the other if she's using a pinch of salt, as her companion stirs her kettle of "Accusations." To Block, the Atomic Energy Commission's (AEC) security regulations for personnel revised on May 9, 1956, permitted extreme, unwarranted intrusions of privacy. These regulations included inquiries about employees' organizational memberships, questioning of informants, and the AEC's power to subpoena witnesses.

"You using a pinch of salt in your recipe, dearie?" Published in The Washington Post, May 17, 1956. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (12). Digital ID# ppmsca-11976

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"We don't want no troublemakers from the United States"

In the early 1960s civil rights movement, Freedom Riders endured violent attacks as they rode through the South seeking integration of the bus, rail, and airport terminals. In this cartoon, Herb Block used three armed thugs to criticize the mob that attacked the Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 21, 1961. The title, an adaptation of a quote from the city's Police Commissioner, implied that the South's sense of justice differed from that of the rest of the U.S. When local leaders failed to prevent mob brutality, Freedom Ride organizers pushed for national intervention.

"We don't want no troublemakers from the United States." Published in The Washington Post, May 23, 1961. Sketch. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing accompanied by graphite sketch. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (13). Digital ID# ppmsca-11977

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An American Tragedy

Herb Block viewed the 1964 presidential campaign of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater as ruthless and extremist. Goldwater's support of ultra-conservatives contrasted with the long tradition of Republican moderates, which Block depicted as drowning. In his nomination acceptance speech on July 16, 1964, Goldwater said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." The nation's overwhelming support for the Democratic candidate, Lyndon Johnson, tempered Goldwater's victory in the Republican Party.

An American Tragedy. Published in The Washington Post, June 5, 1964. Ink, graphite, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (15). Digital ID # ppmsca-11979

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Sections: Environment | Ethics | Extremism | Get Out the Vote | Middle East | Privacy/Security | War