The Red Scare

Lesson Plan

Ohio Content Standards:

Grade 10, History 9-A

Duration of Lesson:

1-2 Class Periods

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will Understand issues of Nativism and Protectionism in early 20th Century America.
  • Students will analyze the roots of anti-immigrant movements in the Post-World War One United States.
  • Students will understand the differences between capitalism and communism.


Using political cartoons students will become familiar with the issues of nativism and protectionism, specifically in regard to the era of the Red Scare.

Materials needed:



Terms to Know:
  • I.W.W
  • Bolshevik
  • Melting Pot
  • Propaganda
  • Anarchy
  • Communism
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism

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, etc.)
  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 minutes)
  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 the remaining questions (Part III) on Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.

Extension Activities:

  • Each student will create a T-chart in which the student compares and contrasts immigration policies of the United States as they have developed from early America (1760) to the present. The charts should include open shores, quota systems, illegal immigration, and national origins.
  • Have students write an essay analyzing the quote from the Statue of Liberty in relation to the Red Scare and the immigration policy of the United States.
We Can’t Digest the Scum
We Can’t Digest the Scum
The World Had Better Watch This Insect
The World Had Better Watch This Insect
The Socialist to the Democratic Donkey You’re Stealing My Props Why Not Take this Also
The Socialist (to the Democratic Donkey)—You’re Stealing My Props! Why Not Take this Also?
Boiling Over
Boiling Over
Hell’s Masterpiece
Hell’s Masterpiece
The Source
The Source



The Opper Project