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During the Revolutionary War, this may be what, in so many words, the British arrogantly said when America declared its independence. Now, many images related to this war are available from the "American Revolution in Drawings and Prints" presentation from the Library's Prints and Photographs Division. In fact, you can see a drawing of a horse-drawn powder cart for transporting gunpowder to troops.

"John Bulls Alternative," 1781(?). Balthasar Leizelt, engraver. "Vuë de Philadelphie. ...," [177-]

Another relevant image (above) is "John Bulls [sic] Alternative," which shows John Bull standing on his toes on a rock, a rope around his neck and tied to a limb above him; on the right, across a body of water (probably representing the English Channel) stands a Frenchman holding a leek, which he offers to John Bull. This British satire, representing John Bull as the English caught in the strangehold of the Americans at Yorktown, shows an ill-fed French man offering a leek. While on the surface the gesture may appear to be one of peace, in reality, the French had the upper hand, and the leek represents the demoralizing of the British in European politics as well as North America. John Bull's alternative is to accept a lesser peace on France's terms or to continue to hang himself in North America.

More than 700 "revolutionary" images are there to be explored. You can also explore 400 years of British-American relations in the Library exhibition "John Bull and Uncle Sam." A joint project of the Library of Congress and the British Library, this exhibition (which closed at the Library in March 2000) brought together for the first time treasures from the two greatest libraries in the English-speaking world in an exploration of selected time periods and cultural movements that provide unique insights into the relationship of the United States and Great Britain. The Library of Congress and the British Library are unique among world cultural institutions in their range (more than 250 million items in the combined collections) and depth. Much of the material in "John Bull and Uncle Sam" had never been displayed in either country.

A. "John Bulls Alternative," 1781(?). Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-45454 (b&w film copy neg.)

B. Balthasar Leizelt, engraver. "Vuë de Philadelphie. ...," [177-]. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-4312 (color film copy transparency), LC-USZ62-41171 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: PGA - Leizelt--Vuë de Philadelphie (B size) [P&P]


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