Herblock Looks at: 1968 | 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

Herblock Looks at 1968: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part II

In 1968, during the final year of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, Herblock focused on the presidential election. When Johnson chose not to run for reelection, Herblock commented on the quarrels between the new left and the moderates in the Democratic Party. After the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the Democrats selected Vice President Hubert Humphrey as their nominee. On the same day the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon, won the election, Herblock castigated his failure to report campaign donations. Ultimately, however, it was the Electoral College that received Herblock’s harshest criticism as an antiquated institution.

Despite concentrating his attention on elections, Herblock also commented on Defense Department spending, decried the left’s protest movements, and contrasted goals of the Poor People’s Campaign to the increase in pension benefits for members of Congress. He reacted to both the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, and that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California.

Currently on exhibit: September 15, 2018–March 16, 2019

"THIS GUN HAS NEVER JAMMED"

Reacting to the news that the Army had spent millions of extra dollars to ensure timely delivery of M-16 rifles to South Vietnam, Herblock illustrated weapons manufacturers gleefully profiting from the U.S. Treasury, symbolized by a safe. In May 1968, Congress called a hearing when it learned that the Army had issued a $56 million contract with the Hydra-Matic Division of General Motors and spent $42 million for rifles produced by Harrington & Richardson, although bids from other manufacturers were lower.

"This Gun Has Never Jammed," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, May 15, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07060 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"I THINK IT’S WHAT’S CALLED ‘THE NEW POLITICS’"

Recoiling from leftist protests that erupted across the United States in 1968, Herblock used sarcasm to downplay their role in the political process. Although he was liberal in his political attitudes, Herblock never admired the far left. He wrote of Vietnam War protesters, "some of them expressed their devotion to freedom by howling down anyone who attempts to speak for the Administration’s position on the war."

"I Think It’s What’s Called ‘The New Politics,’" 1968. Published in the Washington Post, August 1, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07082 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS COMING TO"

Expressing outrage at the death of Democratic Party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968, Herblock contrasted the madness of the handgun wielding assassin Sirhan Sirhan with what he considered false piety of Kennedy’s fellow senators. President Lyndon Baines Johnson called once again for Congress to pass gun control legislation. Initially resistant, a deluge of mail from constituents convinced U.S. Congress to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968, which Johnson signed into law on October 22, 1968.

"I Just Don’t Know What This Country Is Coming To," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, June 9, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07078 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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ENEMIES OF THE DREAM

Annoyed by the riots and a "by any means necessary" militant African American community, as well as the increase in white-led violence and racism, Herblock commemorated Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929–1968) and his non-violent ideals. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. By showing an African American hand holding a fiery torch and a white hand holding a rifle next to the portrait of King, Herblock asserted that both were enemies of King’s dream.

Enemies of the Dream, 1968. Published in the Washington Post, April 7, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07033 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"WE CAN’T LOOK OUT FOR EVERYBODY"

Frustrated by the economic inequity that prevented the poor from accessing adequate health care, education, and housing, as well as the immoral complacency of the wealthy, Martin Luther King, Jr., advocated for the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. Three-thousand people created a shantytown, dubbed Resurrection City, on the National Mall during the summer of 1968. In this drawing, Herblock contrasted the lack of funding for the Great Society poverty program with the callousness of a wealthy congressman who intended to vote for an increase in his own pension.

"We Can’t Look Out For Everybody," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, May 29, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07071 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"FRIENDS, I WANT TO REMOVE ANY CAUSE FOR CONTENTION"

Herblock portrayed Senator Eugene McCarthy (1916–2005) as the source of Democratic Party discord as he attempts to mount the donkey, having bruised Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968) with his fists. The cartoonist shows Hubert Humphrey (1911–1978) refusing to engage in fisticuffs while calmly leading the party symbol away from the others. Vice President Humphrey did not announce his candidacy until April 27, 1968, but pundits assumed he would be the front-runner. After an assassin’s bullet ended Robert Kennedy’s life, the Democratic Party nominated Humphrey as their candidate.

"Friends, I Want to Remove Any Cause for Contention Between You Two Fine Fellow-Democrats," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, April 26, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07047 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"WHEW! CAN’T WE FIND SOME OTHER ROUTE?"

Finding state primaries and party conventions anti-democratic for candidates and voters alike, Herblock was an advocate for direct election. In this cartoon, he depicted two people having evaded the clutches of a tiger and a bear, only to reach the pinnacle of the "Presidential Election System," to meet an angry dinosaur labelled "Electoral College." In his book, Herblock Gallery, he made it clear that both voters and candidates suffered from the ". . . state political-system peculiarities, national-convention circuses, smoke-filled rooms, money-filled campaign coffers and an ancient and creaking electoral procedure."

"Whew! Can’t We Find Some Other Route?" 1968. Published in the Washington Post, September 6, 1968. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07107 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"NEVER MIND THE WAR"

In this cartoon, Herblock ponders the future of the American economy, as two bureaucrats compare the expense of the presidential election campaign to that of the Vietnam War. As the election season came to a close, it was apparent how much presidential candidates were willing to spend on their campaigns. At the same time, the expense of the Vietnam War led civic leaders to call for a reduction in military force to balance the budget as well as increase taxes in order to promote domestic programs.

"Never Mind the War—What Happens to the National Economy after the Campaign Spending Is Over?" 1968. Published in the Washington Post, October 31, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07073 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"WE WERE BUSY MAKING SPEECHES ON LAW AND ORDER"

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Justice Department invoked the Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1925 to investigate several Nixon-Agnew election committees for failing to file the names of contributors and the amounts they donated prior to the presidential election as required by law. Herblock reacted to the lack of disclosure—as well as Nixon’s record-breaking campaign fundraising—by depicting a bloated bureaucrat thumbing his nose at Ramsey Clark’s Department of Justice investigation, confident that he would not be punished for sitting on a pile of unreported campaign funds.

"We Were Busy Making Speeches on Law and Order," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, November 5, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07149 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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"ALL RIGHT NOW, TEAM—HEADS UP—WE CAN WIN THIS OLD BALL GAME"

Using a baseball metaphor, Herblock, a longtime admirer of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, represented Democratic Party nominee Hubert Humphrey as the affable loser character, Charlie Brown. Cartoon siblings Linus and Lucy van Pelt completely ignore him, much like Humphrey’s fellow Democrats. Lucy holds a flower representing former front-runner Eugene McCarthy, who refused to endorse Humphrey’s candidacy until a week before the election. Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon won both the popular vote as well as a landslide Electoral College victory.

"All Right Now, Team—Heads Up—We Can Win This Old Ball Game," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, September 5, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07106 A 1968 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at 1968: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part I

In 1968, during the fourth and final year of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, Herblock focused on the presidential election. Having called attention to Richard M. Nixon’s mud-slinging tactics during the McCarthy era, Herblock increased pressure on Nixon when he became the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. Johnson, had he not withdrawn from the election, might have faced the same stiff rebuke. Ultimately, however, it was the Electoral College that received Herblock’s harshest criticism as an antiquated institution.

Despite the focus of his attention on elections, Herblock commented on the importance of free trade and sympathized with the Vietnamese civilians who had been displaced both by the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive and American bombing. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, Herblock vented his ire at the gun industry. In addition, he found racism and endemic poverty unacceptable in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Exhibition dates: March 17–September 8, 2018

"WE'LL CLEVERLY SEAL THE DOOR CLOSED FROM JUST ONE SIDE"

Responding to an increase in synthetic and cotton textile imports from abroad, Congress proposed textile quota legislation in 1968. The American textile industry had a strong lobby at the time, but Johnson vetoed the proposed legislation, arguing "It violates our international obligations under the GATT, and it invites retaliation." The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, to which the United States signed on as a member nation in 1948, oversees international trade. Herblock considered import quotas an impediment to selling American products.

"We'll Cleverly Seal the Door Closed from Just One Side," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, March 29, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07029 © Herb Block Foundation

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"I DON'T KNOW IF EITHER SIDE IS WINNING, BUT I KNOW WHO'S LOSING"

Recoiling from the Tet Offensive and the subsequent allied bombing, Herblock sympathized with Vietnam's civilian population who were forced to flee their homes. Civilians bore the brunt of the Viet Cong's assault on forty-four South Vietnamese cities. President Johnson vowed to continue bombing North Vietnam until the Communist opposition agreed to peace talks. While the military successfully pushed back the Viet Cong, the Tet Offensive demonstrated to the American people that a quick victory was not possible. Public opinion turned against Johnson and his policies.

"I Don't Know if Either Side is Winning, but I Know Who's Losing," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, February 13, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06994  © Herb Block Foundation

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CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS, FOLKS

Herblock regularly called for Congress to pass gun control legislation in the years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and he vented his frustration at the National Rifle Association and gun salesmen days after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. While the majority of Americans favored stricter gun controls, Herblock felt that they "were not organized to shoot letters at Congressmen as were the trained letter writers of the National Rifle Association."

[Gun Peddler and NRA man standing in front of epithet to John F. Kennedy, King, and others killed by guns in U.S.], 1968. Published in the Washington Post, April 10, 1968. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07035 © Herb Block Foundation

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HOUSE DIVIDED

In the wake of the 1967 riots, President Johnson commissioned the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. Herblock reacted to the report, stating, "What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it." For Herblock, the implicit wedge of white racism perpetuated poverty, crime, and a second-rate education for impoverished African Americans.

House Divided, 1968. Published in the Washington Post, March 5, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07010  © Herb Block Foundation

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"YOU MUST HAVE THE WRONG ADDRESS —WE'RE A VERY PROSPEROUS PEOPLE"

Having read the report of the Citizens' Board of Inquiry into Hunger and Malnutrition in the United States, which stated that 10 million Americans suffered from chronic hunger, Herblock depicted wealthy citizens surprised to find poverty at their door. The report pointed out that the Department of Agriculture's food stamp program had failed the poor, and ought to be distributed free-of-charge based on income. Herblock wrote, ". . . depression is here today—and no more tolerable for being a patch of desolation surrounded by unparalleled affluence."

"You Must Have the Wrong Address—We're a Very Prosperous People," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, April 24, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07045 © Herb Block Foundation

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"YOU GOT YOUR READING MATTER, SONNY BOY, AND I GOT MINE"

The House and the Justice Department, under the Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, investigated several Nixon-Agnew election committees for failing to file the names of contributors and the amounts they donated prior to the presidential election as required by law. Herblock reacted to the lack of disclosure—as well as Nixon's record-breaking campaign fundraising—by showing a bag full of money dismissive of Ramsay Clark's Department of Justice investigation, arguing that the election returns were a show of support.

"You Got Your Reading Matter, Sonny Boy, and I Got Mine," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, November 24, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07160 © Herb Block Foundation

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"YOU GO FIRST, SONNY, THEN POINT ME TOWARD HIM"

As the 1968 presidential election picked up momentum, Herblock was critical of the election process in the United States. He felt that presidential primaries, with their rules about whose name could appear on the ballot led to state peculiarities. He also argued for the elimination of the Electoral College, stating, "The President and the Vice-President should be elected by direct vote of the people." He often characterized the Electoral College as an elderly colonist. Here, his voter is caught in a William Tell nightmare.

"You Go First, Sonny, Then Point Me Toward Him," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, March 7, 1968. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.15.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07012 © Herb Block Foundation

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"AND DO YOU, JANE VOTER, TAKE THIS PACKAGE —"

On the eve of the 1968 presidential election, Herblock believed that the Republican Party candidate, Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994), had the election in the bag. Planting a frown on the woman's face, Herblock suggests women found Nixon distasteful. Indeed, women favored the Democratic Party candidate Hubert Humphrey, so Nixon's margin was a narrow half-million votes. The fractious nature of the Democratic Party as well as third-party candidate George Wallace drawing off the traditionally Democratic Southern vote led to Nixon's stunning Electoral College victory.

"And Do You, Jane Voter, Take This Package —," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, October 31, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07146 © Herb Block Foundation

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"RIGHT—WE'VE COMPLETELY OVERCOME THE OLD FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW"

As the 1968 presidential election neared, Herblock illustrated Republican Party candidate Richard M. Nixon in the shadows for having refused a televised debate with the Democratic Party candidate Hubert Humphrey. From the time Nixon had been elected to Congress in 1948, Herblock portrayed him with a five o'clock shadow, a symbol of his mud-slinging politics. When he was elected president, Herblock gave him a free shave before returning to attack his politics and policies.

"Right —We've Completely Overcome the Old Five O' Clock Shadow," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, October 25, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07142 © Herb Block Foundation

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"CHIEF, SOME ODD-BALL CHARGING LIKE A KNIGHT IN ARMOR THINKS HE CAN —"

Herblock reacts to Eugene McCarthy's (1916–2005) surprising upset in the New Hampshire primary, by representing the Minnesota senator as a white lance challenging incumbent Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) and stopping his campaign in its tracks. McCarthy's strong showing led Senator Bobby Kennedy to announce his candidacy. Johnson announced two weeks later, "I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President." In a contentious race after Bobby Kennedy's assassination, Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic Party nomination.

"Chief, Some Odd-Ball Charging Like a Knight in Armor Thinks He Can—," 1968. Published in the Washington Post, March 14, 1968. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.14.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07018 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1968 | 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism