This political cartoon from 1807, created by Alexander Anderson, addresses the displeasure with Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act prevalent throughout the northern United States.
The cartoon depicts a smuggler being bitten by an American snapping turtle called "Ograbme." The name is a play on the word embargo (backwards). In the distance is a British ship (flying the Union Jack), presumably waiting to smuggle American goods back to Britain. The smuggler's exclamation of, "Oh! This cursed Ograbme," is a thinly-veiled criticism of the Embargo Act. Intended to punish Britain and France for interfering with American shipping, the Embargo Act actually harmed American merchants, who were now bereft of profitable overseas markets. Since most American industry during the early 1800s was located in the North, criticism of the Embargo Act was rather widespread in that section of the country.
Students are also encouraged to consider other constitutional measures to which Americans might have resorted to express their displeasure with the Embargo Act.
Political Cartoon: Ograbme, or the American Snapping Turtle
by Brian Hook
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License