What Shall We Do with John Chinaman? political cartoon, 1869
In the left-hand panel of the cartoon, captioned "What Pat would do with him," an Irish or Irish-American man appears eager to throw a Chinese or Chinese-American man off a cliff. The Irishman is characterized by a top hat and pipe, the Chinese man by a topknot and tunic. In the landscape...
|Collection:||Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)|
|Alternate Date:||September 29, 1869|
|Dimensions:||18 x 14 cm|
|Extent:||1 newspaper cartoon|
|Box Number:||Box 12|
|Folder Number:||Folder 3|
Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper
|Subjects and Genres:|
|Copyright:||Please contact Historical Society of Pennsylvania Rights and Reproductions (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
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In the left-hand panel of the cartoon, captioned "What Pat would do with him," an Irish or Irish-American man appears eager to throw a Chinese or Chinese-American man off a cliff. The Irishman is characterized by a top hat and pipe, the Chinese man by a topknot and tunic. In the landscape behind them a landmass labeled "China" can be viewed, likely indicating that this scene takes place on the west coast of the United States, where many Chinese had immigrated in the mid-1800s. In the right-hand panel, captioned "What will be done with him," a white man, implied to be a Southern plantation owner, guides the same Chinese or Chinese-American man to work in the cotton fields.
In the Reconstruction Era, some white southern planters advocated replacing black slave labor with Chinese labor. A number of Chinese immigrants did work as sharecroppers, but they did not transform into the permanent underpaid workforce plantation owners hoped for. More generally, this cartoon comments on the increasing number of Chinese immigrants to the United States from the mid-19th century, especially following the Burlingame Treaty of 1868, and rising anti-Chinese sentiment among European-American laborers, especially in California. This cartoon also provides early examples of the stereotypical depictions of Irish and Chinese people that would be seen again and again in American political cartoons of the late 19th century.