William Hogarth and his political cartoons
William Hogarth

Cartoons have had a huge impact on societal affairs for a very long time.

William Hogarth was one of the first people to utilize cartoons to make an impact on people’s ideas and opinions of his time.

Hogarth was a series painter who was acclaimed for his portraits of famous people.

His ability to capture the feelings of everyday people in London, however, became legendary.

He often used cartoons to gain public opinion on certain areas.

Two notable series were the encouragement of developing the Protestant work ethic and the evils of drinking gin.

However, on February 21, 1751, he published The Four Stages of Cruelty.

In these cartoons, Hogarth depicts appalling animal cruelty that was common at that time.

He goes on to demonstrate where this cruelty leads.

In the first cartoon, Hogarth shows people being cruel to cats and dogs.

In the second he introduces the fictional character, Tom Nero, beating his horse resulting in the horse breaking its leg and having to be destroyed.

In the third cartoon, Nero murders a woman and is executed.

The fourth cartoon, titled, “The Reward of Cruelty” sees scientists dissecting Nero’s body.

Sometime later, the British parliament introduced a Bill to allow them to use the bodies of criminals for experimentation and dissection.

Hogarth may have been an instrument of the political leaders of his time but this was because his cartoons were well-crafted and powerful.

Click here to see more about Hogarth’s cartoons.


William Hogarth and his political cartoons
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