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The Election of 1912

Content Standard: Grade 10, History 4-C

Duration of Lesson: 1-2 Class Periods


  • Students will analyze the Presidential Election of 1912
  • Students will examine the two party system and the role of third
    parties in said system.
  • Students will identify the "hot button" issues in the 1912
    presidential election
  • Students will evaluate the role of the media in the portrayal of
    candidates in an election

Summary: Using political cartoons students will
become familiar with the candidates, issues, results, and interpretations of
the presidential election of 1912.

Materials needed:


Identify the
following with their symbolic meaning:

  • Donkey
  • Elephant
  • Moose

Identify the three main candidates
in the 1912 Presidential Election

Instructional Steps:

  1. Divide the students into three
    topical groups. Assign each group one of the following topics: Stereotype,
    Symbol, or Caricature.
  2. Distribute copies of the
    cartoons to each member of the topical group so all cartoons are in use for
    each group. (example: Stereotype group will have all cartoons, as will Symbol,
  3. Distribute Cartoon Analysis
    Worksheet to each student.
  4. Students are to find examples
    of their assigned topic using each of the cartoons present in their group and
    fill in the appropriate space on the worksheet in Part I. (5-10 minutes)
  5. Students are to then arrange
    themselves in a group according to their individual cartoon, thus forming 6-8
    new groups centered on one specific cartoon.
  6. Students are to complete
    Worksheet Part II using information from other members of their group.(5-10
  7. Individual groups will briefly
    present analysis of their cartoon to the class (Note: an overhead copy of the
    cartoon will expedite this process)

Post-Assessment Activity:

As a class, students will answer and discuss remaining
questions (Part III) on Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.

Extension Activities:

Have students:

  • List examples of third party candidates in recent
    presidential elections.
  • Give examples of how a third party candidate in a recent
    election has affected the outcome.
  • Find an example of an editorial cartoon portraying a third
    party candidate.

"The Bill Posters"

"Favors Always for the Few"

"The Man Hunt"

"Can He Get Across?"

"Why Is It Nobody Loves Me?"

"The Elephant"