Berkeley Digital Library

A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students

Political Cartoon on Deportation

[ Questions on Political Cartoon | Immigration | Next Exhibit ]

"Uncle Sam bids good riddance
to the deportees"
(from J. Edgar Hoover's
memorabilia and scrapbook
in the National Archives).

CONTEXT: World War I and the Russian Revolution created a climate of fear in the United States directed against those identified as foreign­born radicals. One government tactic to rid the country of these people included deportation. On December 21, 1919, 249 radicals were deported from the United States to the Soviet Union aboard the S.S. Buford--often referred to as the "Red Ark." Emma Goldman and her comrade Alexander Berkman were the most notorious among the deportees. Present at the dock was the young J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Justice Department's General Intelligence Division. Hoover, who had turned the deportation of Goldman and Berkman into a personal crusade, labeled them "two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country."

Questions on Political Cartoon:

  1. Read the cartoon: Who is on the ship? Where are they going?

  2. How does the cartoon portray the deportees?

  3. Suggest some adjectives that describe the emotions elicited in the cartoon.

  4. Who is Uncle Sam? What does Uncle Sam mean? What attitude does the phrase "good riddance" express?

General Questions on This Exhibit:

  1. What does it mean to be deported?

  2. Would this cartoon be popular today?

  3. Suggest another time in American history when the attitudes expressed in this cartoon would be relevant.

  4. Does the U.S. government deport people today? Give some examples of recent instances of deportation. For what reasons were these people sent back to the country they came from? Were these reasons political? economic? racial?

  5. How has immigration policy changed since 1919?

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