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[Detail] A French officer and his British ally at the front read the New York Times.

Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision Making: Identifying Persistent Issues in U.S. History

Many of the issues that people face—individually and as societies—are conflicts between two positive values, such as liberty and security, or free press and fair trial. These conflicts are persistent and recurring—they are played out in different forms across time and place. By looking at how conflicts were resolved in other times and places, we can clarify our thinking about how they might be resolved today. People who want to persuade others of a particular position on an issue may use words and images from an earlier time to support their position.

On July 16, 1916, pages 5 and 6 of the New York Tribune’s pictorial section included several cartoons that had originally been published several decades earlier. The editors of the Tribune believed that these cartoons addressed issues that were again important in 1916. Examine these cartoons and answer the following questions:

  • Who drew these cartoons? When were they first published?
  • What issues do the cartoons address? What values were in conflict? What position on these issues is the cartoonist taking?
  • What position regarding the war in Europe was the Tribune taking by reprinting these cartoons?
  • Why would the editors of the Tribune choose to use cartoons that were several decades old rather than print cartoons by contemporary artists to express similar views?
  • Do you think a newspaper editor today would republish a cartoon published several decades earlier? Why or why not?

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