Early Twentieth Century Colorado witnessed some divisive battles over political life and economic conditions. After men voted to enfranchise Colorado women in 1893, the state offered exciting opportunities for women activists to promote reform. Yet party machines limited their influence. In this presentation, Laugen explores the visual representations of gender and politics created by Denver Post cartoonist Wilbur Steele. These editorial cartoons highlight the emotional and gendered style of Progressive reformers and their partisan adversaries. We explore whether political cartoons can fight corruption and promote democratic change in public life.

A faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver since 2005, Todd Laugen teaches American History and supports K-12 History Education. His published work includes: The Gospel of Progressivism: Moral Reform and Labor War in Colorado, 1900-1930 and Colorado History Detectives: Teaching Historical Literacy to School-Aged Readers, which is available online.