American History Political Cartoons 33 HRW material copyrighted under notice appearing earlier in this work. Name __________________________ Class _______________ Date ________________ AMERICAN HISTORY POLITICAL CARTOONS The Power of Trusts UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL CARTOONS Study the political cartoon, and then answer the questions that follow. 1.
What does the image of the people 9s entrance suggest? 2. What does the entrance for the trusts symbolize?
3. What does the sign titled cThis is a Senate d satirize? ACTIVITY Imagine that you are a business owner.
Write a letter to your senator to express your opinion of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Explain your answer using images in the cartoon to support your opinion. CARTOON Culver Pictures, Inc.
Menu Print 34 American History Political Cartoons HRW material copyrighted under notice appearing earlier in this work. Discussion Guide The economic and political power of trusts became a concern for the American public during the late 1800s. (Trusts control many companies in an industry through a single board of directors.) By lowering prices and fixing costs and expenditures, trusts drove many smaller companies out of business.
For example, John D. Rockefeller and his associ- ates formed the Standard Oil Company of Ohio in 1870. By 1882 the company monopo- lized nearly all of the U.S.
oil industry. Such a concentration of wealth and economic power dramatically influenced the landscape of the United States economy. As a result, most Americans were very suspicious of trusts.
Although trusts were capable of efficient production, they usually did so at the expense of their workers who often ... more.
earned just enough money for survival. In addition, by monopolizing entire segments of industry, trusts threatened to squeeze small and emerging businesses out of existence. In 1890 Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act which prohibited any joint action by businesses that might restrain free trade.
However, little was done to enforce the Act, and because of its vague language, the Act was difficult for the courts to interpret but easy for many trusts to circumvent. Furthermore, when a powerful trust gained control of a state legislature through bribes and undue influence, the trust also gained control of two Senate seats. Some senators frequently repaid trusts with lucrative federal contracts, leading much of the public to believe that the Senate was little more than a puppet for the monopolists.
To lessen the effects of trusts on senatorial election, Congress proposed a direct- election amendment to the Constitution in 1912. In 1913 the states ratified the Seventeenth Amendment, which mandated the direct election of senators by the voters of each states. The following cartoon show the effects that trusts had on U.S.
senators and voters. Answers UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL CARTOONS 1. voters were ignored by the Senate and people had no influence on how senators voted 2.
Only wealthy monopolies or trusts had access to the government. 3. general American belief that government was for the people and by the people Activity Students 9 letters will be either for or against the Sherman Antitrust Act and should clearly state their position.
Cartoon 17: Discussion and Answers Menu Print