September 1905 American Presidents

President Theodore Roosevelt: 1901-1909

“This cartoon illustrates the traditional thesis that the Jewish migration from Pale of Settlement was caused by the pogroms.  It shows a Jewish town, on that right, that was hit by a pogrom, and a stream of Jewish refugees fleeing it on their way to become immigrants in the United States.

It was published in Judge, one of two U.S. leading satirical magazines that regularly commented on political events with writing, illustrations, and cartoons.  The scene on the top left shows President Theodore Roosevelt approaching the Tsar Nikolai II: ‘Stop your cruel oppression of the Jews,’ and ‘Now that you have peace without, why not remove his burden and have peace within your boarders?’

The immediate context was the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth a few weeks earlier.  The treaty was brokered by President Roosevelt and brought the Russo-Japanese War to an official end.  Roosevelt, leveraging on his diplomatic achievement, is depicted reminding the Tsar to correct another issue that tainted Russia’s relations with Britain and the United States—the suppression of the Jewish minority in Russia.  This was one month before a massive wave of hundreds of pogroms swept through the Pale of Settlement,

The artist who created the cartoon was Emil Flohri (1869-1938).  He had been a political cartoonist since he was sixteen years old, and during the last decade of his life he became a pioneer in the new medium of animation, the man behind Mickey Mouse. More precisely, Walt Disney’s chief background designer.