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Cartoons and Caricatures

Critical Reflections

The figure of Jean-Baptiste was adopted by cartoonists as a traditional embodiment of French Canada. In French-Canadian political cartoons, this recurring character expresses a range of attitudes toward Confederation, from physical distress to energetic patriotism. Especially during the 1860s, the desire to protect French-Canadian culture resulted in portraits of Confederation as a dangerous, even monstrous, political option. By the turn of the century, Jean-Baptiste became a champion of the Canadian identity.

Caricature, EFFET DE LA CONFÉDÉRATION

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"Effet de la Confédération"

Côté's woodcut from December 1864 shows Jean-Baptiste sitting uncomfortably on a chamber pot.

Caricature, LA CONFÉDÉRATION!

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"La Confédération!"

In December 1864, Côté represented Confederation as a devouring monster controlled by George Brown, George-Étienne Cartier and Joseph-Édouard Cauchon.

Caricature, LA QUESTION

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"La question"

Upper and Lower Canada will be consumed by Confederation or Annexation. Abraham Lincoln intends to devour turkeys and cooks alike (1865).

Caricature, LE STATUQUO DE G. BROWN

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"Le statuquo de G. Brown"

Côté's representation of George Brown in April 1866 shows the editor of the Globe balanced uneasily between political options.

Caricature, NEUTRALITÉ

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"Neutralité"

American Fenians threaten Canada across the neutral border in Côté's depiction of the leading national security concern of 1866.

Caricature, LE MOMENT PSYCHOLOGIQUE

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"Le moment psychologique"

Jean-Baptiste rejects the clothing of imperialism and annexation in favour of the warm tuque and clothes of Canadian independence (1903).

Caricature, NOTRE DRAPEAU NATIONAL

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"Notre drapeau national"

The flag adopted by Canada in 1965 was anticipated by this maple-leaf design, proudly displayed by Jean-Baptiste in 1903.

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