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The More Things Change… Political Cartoons Exhibit Highlights Un/Civil Discourse over the Past Century

"Enough of this!" By J. N. "Ding" Darling, Des Moines Register, January 25, 1908
"Enough of this!" By J. N. "Ding" Darling, Des Moines Register, January 25, 1908


How many of the issues of the 2012 presidential elections are new to our society?  What did politicians and the media say about unemployment and social security in the 1930s, the 1970s, or the 1990s? Were the elections of the last century less divisive in their language than those of today? What guidance can the past give for the future?

As part of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center’s “Conflict and Civility in Political Discourse: Where Is the Line?” symposium, Special Collections & Iowa Women’s Archives are teaming up with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum & Library to bring you an exhibit of “A Century of Un/Civil Discourse in Political Cartoons.” Assembled from thousands of political cartoons published in the Des Moines Register and other national newspapers over the course of the 20th and early 21st century, the exhibit will show how themes like unemployment, social security, government waste, electoral acrimony, immigration and the position of women were treated by perceptive and provocative cartoonists like J. N. “Ding” Darling, Harold Carlisle, Frank Miller and Brian Duffy. For good measure, the physical exhibit will be accompanied by a screen slideshow with additional cartoons.


The symposium will be held November 9-10 at the Sheraton Hotel of Iowa City. For more information, go to the symposium homepage at


Would you like to browse more of our political cartoons from home? Please go to our online digital Des Moines Register political cartoons collection at