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Interpreting the Evidence

Peace Brings Us New Mouths to Feed Political Cartoon

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Political Cartoon

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load "Peace Brings Us New Mouths to Feed" Political Cartoon, n.d. in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Historical Context

In Europe, especially in countries where the fighting took place, the destruction and loss of life severely damaged social and political systems.  Many children were fatherless, wives were without husbands and this caused major changes in family structure. One of the consequences of World War I in America was that it intensified anti-immigrant and anti-radical sentiments among mainstream Americans.  

At the end of World War I, President Wilson wanted the United States to become more involved in international affairs.  He strongly believed that the United States had a moral obligation to help maintain peace in the world.  His fourteenth point called for the creation of the League of Nations.  The League of Nations was, in theory, an international organization to address diplomatic crises and to provide a forum for nations to discuss and settle their grievances without having to go to war.

There was much debate in America over the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.  Supporters believed that the League was important for maintaining lasting peace.  Opponents thought that membership in the League would draw the United States into the internal affairs of the countries of Europe and involve the United States in future foreign wars.

This cartoon portrays the feelings of some Americans toward the idea of getting involved in the affairs of European countries and the League.  

Although the United States decided not to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and never joined the League of Nations, Wilson’s ideas about moral purpose would have a lasting influence on American foreign policy.

Historical Challenges

Create a political cartoon that illustrates your feelings about the Treaty of Versailles.

Interdisciplinary Connections

English Language Arts: Write a persuasive essay supporting President Wilson’s 14 Points and describing how they could be added to the peace treaty.