The History of Cartoons

Cartoons have had a long and storied history. When people think of cartoons, they may think of comic books, political cartoons and Saturday morning’s when they were kids. But cartoons have been around in print and visual media for several hundred years.

Some of the earliest cartoons go back to the 18th Century Britain, where cartoons would appear satirizing famous people of the day. These early political cartoons soon came to colonial America, and became an important part of the movement for independence. The early political cartoons in the colonies poked fun at British rule and the laws of the day. The political cartoons in the newspapers of the day helped provide a central theme for the growing revolutionary spirit.

From the start, cartoons have been a way to lampoon and poke fun at the establishment and government. However, over time cartoons moved from newspapers to other formats. In 1841, Punch Magazine debuts featuring satirical articles and cartoons. The format that Punch utilized became the basis of future satirical magazines such as Mad and Spy.

Cartoons have also been used as images to promote certain ideals. One of the most famous is Uncle Sam. In 1852, the likeness of Uncle Sam began to appear in a cartoon in a New York newspaper. Soon, the image of Uncle Sam became to be tied to the United States and Uncle Sam began to appear in advertisements to support the country during times of war and strife.

When the motion picture was invented in the early 1900’s, one of the earliest uses of this new medium was the cartoon. Now famous cartoons could be brought to action on the big screen. Patrons of movies were thrilled to see some of the cartoon shorts that would begin to appear. The cartoons of the movies were a fixture for many years and through the work of the Disney Studios in the late 1900’s and the continued work of animation studios such as Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks Studios have advanced the genre of animated cartoon movies to new heights.

While cartoons in the movies and in print have been a part of our lives, the area that has seen the greatest advancement of the genre is the work of television cartoons. Cartoons have been a part of television since the early days of TV in the mid 1900’s. Over the course of time cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and other early TV cartoon pioneers have been part of our life. In time, cartoons such as The Flintstones, Jetsons and Scooby Doo began to appear followed by animated superheroes such as Batman, Superman and Spiderman. Today, television cartoons continue to appear including those that are not just for kids, such as The Simpsons, South Park and The Family Guy.

Cartoons has had a long history and even played an important role in the history of the country. It has been in print and video format, and continues to evolve into an important part of our everyday lives. For more information and additional resources on the evolution of cartoons, check out the following links: