About this Collection
This assemblage of more than 500 prints made in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries encompasses several forms of political art. Most of the prints are from the division's PC/US series, which consists of individually cataloged political cartoons and caricatures. All of the prints meet two criteria: they were originally designed to express sentiments relating to civic life and government in the United States and they were individually issued prints. Illustrations from books and magazines are not included in this collection. Historical prints from the division's Popular Graphic Arts series that treat political subjects, humorously or otherwise, are displayed separately in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog as part of the the Popular Graphic Arts group.
The prints illustrate the rise and decline of allegorical expression and the evolution of important symbols such as Liberty, and Justice. Because of the testimony they provide to earlier forms of expression and changes in expression, they offer valuable material for historical study.
The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, sensibilities and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.
A fuller discussion of political prints, in general, can be found in the introduction Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., provided to a published catalog of the prints: American Political Prints, 1766-1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1991). Information for the above summary has partially been drawn from Reilly's discussion. Online records for items described in that catalog can be retrieved by searching the phrase: American Political Prints, 1766-1876.