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Cartoons and Caricatures

Scandal and Strife

Political cartoonists thrive on the notorious deeds and decisions of elected officials. The upheavals of the Confederation era, which included such controversial episodes as the Pacific Scandal and the trial of Louis Riel, inspired some of the most provocative illustrations in the history of Canadian political cartoons.

Caricature, THE DAINTY DISH

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"The Dainty Dish"

The opposition leaders offer the Governor General evidence of the Pacific Scandal in Bengough's nursery rhyme satire from 1873.

Caricature, BLACKWASH AND WHITEWASH

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"Blackwash and Whitewash"

In 1873 Bengough mocked Sir John A. Macdonald's role in the Pacific Scandal, as well as the Opposition's opportunistic use of "political tar."

Caricature, WILL HE GET THROUGH?

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"Will He Get Through?"

Macdonald faces an impossible trick -- surviving the Pacific Scandal. His government lost the election held in November 1873.

Caricature, THE POLITICAL GIANT-KILLER, OR, CANADA FIRST

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"The Political Giant-Killer; or, Canada First"

The "Canada First" movement reacted to the events of the 1870s with a vision of cultural and political unity (1873).

Caricature, PITY THE DOMINIE; OR JOHNNY'S RETURN

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"Pity the Dominie; or Johnny's Return"

Although his government fell as a result of the Pacific Scandal, Macdonald was re-elected in 1874. Bengough anticipates more mischief.

Caricature, PACIFIC PASTIMES

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"Pacific Pastimes"

Bengough often depicted politics as an unruly game. Here the construction of the transcontinental railway is represented as a sack race (1874).

Caricature, AU NORD-OUEST

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"Au Nord-Ouest"

The uncertain position of justice is depicted in this 1885 commentary on the fate of Louis Riel.

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