John Bull Makes a Discovery.

John Bull Makes a Discovery.

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This anti-English political cartoon highlights Northern concerns that Great Britain would abandon its anti-slavery values and instead give support to the Confederacy out of economic interests. In 1862 and 1863, the Northern blockade of the South resulted in a cotton shortage in England, and the textile industry there suffered. In the print, John Bull, the figural representation of Great Britain holds a clump of cotton that he had grasped from a bale. He remarks, “Well yes! it is certain that cotton is more useful to me than wool!!” as he strokes the hair, or “wool,” on the head of a slave kneeling at his feet. Two other black man stand in the back left and proceed to cry. In the back right, a goateed Southern man with a straw hat watches the scene with a joyful look upon his face. Despite Northern anxieties and Southern hopes, Great Britain had little interest in embroiling itself in the American war and maintained a policy of neutrality.
Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and after serving an apprenticeship in Boston, he moved to New York City in 1834. In New York, he briefly partnered with Adam Stodart, but their firm dissolved within a year, and Currier went into business on his own until 1857. James M. Ives (1824-1895) was a native New York lithographer who was hired as a bookkeeper by Currier in 1852. In 1857, the two men partnered, forming the famous lithography firm of Currier and Ives, which continued under their sons until 1907.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
date made
place made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 10 1/8 in x 13 7/8 in; 25.7175 cm x 35.2425 cm
ID Number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Political Caricatures
Reform Movements
African American
Civil War
Civil War
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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