Fire!

Published June 17, 1949

Published June 17, 1949

Block drew up this cartoon on June 17, 1949, a time when Americans were still highly terrified of Communism. In the cartoon is the torch from the statue of liberty, and a man labeled “Hysteria” is climbing on a ladder, up to the torch, with a bucket of water. The message that Block was sending through this cartoon is pretty clear. The torch is supposed to represent the Enlightenment and is meant to light our way to freedom. Since “Hysteria” is trying to squelch the fire, the cartoon shows that the mass panic concerning Communism that McCarthy helped create is a major threat to our freedom. It can endanger Americans’ right to say whatever they want to say without being persecuted for it.

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