American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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A Pacifist Viewpoint

Europe, 1916
Boardman Robinson (1876-1952)
Europe, 1916
Lithographic crayon, ink, and
gouache on paper, 1916
Prints & Photographs Division
LC-USZC4-3901

The years just prior to World War I were a period of intense political activism among American artists. Radical art and politics converged in the socialist journal The Masses, which became a forum for the pacifist viewpoint of artists like Boardman Robinson who saw the war as the product of international competition among industrial capitalists. Such powerful and provocative anti war statements by Robinson and his colleagues led to the eventual suppression and demise of the journal during World War I, when the United States Post Office used the newly enacted Espionage Act to ban its distribution.

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