August 2's Fact of the Week: “The Chinese Question” Cartoon

In 1888, Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, defends Chinese immigrants against the fierce prejudice and discrimination which they faced in late-nineteenth-century America. In the cartoon illustration, Columbia, the feminine symbol of the United States, shields the dejected Chinese man against an armed mob. On the wall behind Columbia are plastered slurs against the Chinese immigrants, who are labeled as barbarian, heathen, immoral, anti-family, and degraded labor. In the years following Nast’s cartoon, the anti-Chinese movement became more vocal and violent.