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Is It Only a Shadow?: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - page 1 / 5





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Is It Only a Shadow?: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Compiled by the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Target Grade Level: 4–12 in United States history classes

Objectives After completing this lesson, students will be better able to:

  • Identify and analyze key components of a political cartoon and relate visual elements to relevant historical context and significance.

  • Create political cartoons analyzing the reaction of Theodore Roosevelt’s critics to key moments in his political career, including his nomination as vice president in 1900 and his succession to the presidency in 1901.


By Grant Hamilton Chromolithograph and red halftone screen, 1898 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution AD/NPG.77.8

Materials Copies of the image Library of Congress Cartoon Analysis Guide ( h t t p : / / m e m o r y . l o c . g o v / l e a r n / f e a t u r e s / p o l i t i c a l _ c a r t o o n / c a g . h t m l Paper, pens, and markers Speech bubble template (see end of lesson) )

Background Information for Teachers This cartoon was published in magazine in October of 1898,

when Theodore Roosevelt

(1858–1919) ran for governor of New York. That summer, he had become a national hero in the Spanish-American War, and many people suspected that he would run for president one day. Roosevelt was known as a reformer, so President McKinley and his chief advisers were uneasy about Roosevelt’s growing popularity and impulsive nature. In an attempt to keep him quiet, they supported his nomination for vice president when McKinley ran for a second term in 1900. This

strategy failed when McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, and Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history.

Lesson Procedures

Portrait Activity Students analyze political cartoon

in order to understand the story and message of the


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