11.3.5 The American Pope
Anti-Catholic cartoon, depciting Cardinal Francesco Satolli, who was appointed in 1893 as the first Papal Delegate to the United States, casting an evil shadow across the country, particularly on public schools.
By the late nineteenth century, new immigrants began arriving in the United States from Asia and from Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants had diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Carefully examine this political cartoon. What is represented in the drawing? What does each object symbolize? What is the cartoonist's statement on immigration? Contextualize the image by considering how this cartoon reflects the nativism and xenophobia of this era. How does this cartoon reflect anxiety over expanding ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity in the United States?
By the late nineteenth century, new immigrants began arriving in the United States from Asia and from Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants had diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. This political cartoon reflects nativist and xenophobic fears about the new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. Anti-Catholic sentiment originally emerged in the 1830s and '40s with the arrival of many Irish immigrants, who were perceived as uneducated, uncivilized, and loyal to the pope. The imagery in this cartoon suggests a resurgence of anti-Catholic sentiment with the arrival in the late nineteenth century of new immigrants from Catholic countries such as Italy. The cartoon depicts the central figure, Cardinal Francesco Satolli, casting a menacing shadow over the government and schools of the United States. In 1893, Satolli was appointed as the first papal delegate to the United States. Nativists feared that Catholic immigrants would be more loyal to Satolli and the pope than to the school officials and government leaders of the United States. Ask students to identify the meaning of the symbolism in the political cartoon. Note the significance of the symbol of the map of the nation, the shadow, and the buildings. Ask students to deduce the point of the cartoon and to contextualize the image within the nativism of the era. Discuss how the cartoon reflects anxiety over the expanding ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity in the United States.