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Using Political Cartoons to Understand History

Lesson Purpose

A lesson that uses political cartoons to engage students in a deeper understanding of George Washington's presidency. Students examine political cartoons, created in 2005 by well-known political cartoonists from newspapers across the country for the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center at Mount Vernon, to explore issues related to the president's title, the Jay Treaty, and the debate surrounding a national bank.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Use political cartoons as a devise for understanding three of the major issues that affected Washington’s presidency: the president’s title, the Jay Treaty, and the existence of a national bank.

Related Standards:

  • Reading and Writing Literacy in History/Social Studies
  • Reading Informational Texts
  • Analysis of Primary Sources
  • Foundations of the Political System
  • Principles of Democracy
  • Communication Strategies
  • Evaluating Data