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Interpreting the Evidence

Mondale and Ferraro Campaign Poster, in Spanish, c. 1984

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Contemporary United States (1965 - present)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Mondale and Ferraro Campaign Poster, in Spanish, c. 1984 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Campaign poster, in Spanish, for presidential candidate Walter Mondale and vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, created by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, ca. 1984.
Historical Context
The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) was founded in New York City in 1900 by Jewish, Italian, and Irish immigrants. After World War II, the union suffered a decline in membership due to the movement of shops from New York City to southern states, such as North Carolina. This was done to avoid unionization and to take advantage of less-expensive labor. The ethnic composition of the ILGWU changed as European immigrants were replaced by Asians and Latin Americans, as well as by African Americans.  However, manufacturers went abroad to take advantage of even cheaper labor.

Under David Dubinsky’s leadership, the ILGWU became a strong supporter of the Democratic Party.  Not surprisingly, in 1984 it endorsed Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro as candidates for president and vice president. Walter Mondale, a liberal, served in the Senate for twelve years before becoming vice president in 1977.  As senator, he supported civil rights and labor legislation, and for his presidential run made history by choosing a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, as his own vice presidential candidate. The Democrats thought that she would greatly benefit Mondale's campaign by taking advantage of the gender gap—the difference in voting patterns between men and women that had occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. Ferraro was also an appealing candidate, from a strong working-class and ethnic background from Queens, New York.  Nevertheless, Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were re-elected in 1984.
Essential Question
How do political leaders influence society?
Check for Understanding
Identify the purpose of the poster and evaluate the significance of this document in encouraging civic participation by new immigrants.
Historical Challenges
Research Project:
Choose one of the following topics and write a two-page report that addresses these questions:
  1. What role did the ILGWU play in New York’s organized labor history, fighting for union rights and helping to assimilate new immigrants?
  2. Why is Walter Mondale credited as having established the concept of an "activist vice-president"?
  3. Is the United States ready to accept a woman president or vice president? You may examine Geraldine Ferraro’s and Hillary Clinton’s experiences.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Foreign Language: Translate the leaflet into English, or create a flyer in Spanish for a current presidential candidate.
Art: Make a poster that could be used in a rally for Mondale and Ferraro.