Learn more about expressing political opinions.

To begin, click the Continue button below to analyze one of the following political cartoons drawn by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Ann Telnaes, taken from a Library of Congress exhibition of her work in 2004.

Choose a cartoon below to analyze:

Historical Background: In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which considerably expanded the ability of federal law enforcement officials to carry out surveillance on people within the U.S.

Telnaes, Ann, artist. "Patriotic Surveillance", June 13, 2003. Drawing. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Courtesy of Tribune Media Services. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/telnaes/images/73-04707r.jpg (accessed December 15, 2012)

Historical Background: In 2003, President Bush signed into law a provision that would prevent women from having "partial birth abortions". All of the nine members of Congress at the signing ceremony were men.

Telnaes, Ann, artist. The "Partial Birth Abortion" Ban Signing Ceremony, November 6, 2003. Drawing. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Courtesy of Tribune Media Services. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/telnaes/images/46-04712r.jpg (accessed December 15, 2012)

Historical Background: The projections were that the federal budget deficit in 2003 could reach a record $480 billion, which critics were saying was largely the result of President Bush's tax cuts, much of which went to wealthier Americans.

Telnaes, Ann, artist. "$480 Billion Deficit", August 28, 2003. Drawing. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Courtesy of Tribune Media Services. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/telnaes/images/46-04712r.jpg (accessed December 15, 2012)

Historical Background: As part of the Patriot Act passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it became easier for the FBI to search a wide range of personal records, including library records.

Telnaes, Ann, artist. [FBI, child, library bookdrop], June 25, 2003. Drawing. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Courtesy of Tribune Media Services. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/telnaes/images/31-04691r.jpg (accessed December 15, 2012)

After you have chosen a cartoon and read its Historical Background, then click the Continue button.
Questions Type Your Answers Progress: 0/8
What political opinion is the cartoonist expressing?
Did the cartoonist present this in a convincing way? Explain.
Which side would you be on for this issue?
What arguments could you use to convince someone?
Next, find your U.S. Representative or Senator's Web site.
What are the main sorts of issues your Representative (or Senator) focuses on in the Web site? Do you think they are presented in a balanced, informative way?
Which of the various issues interest you the most? Which one would you be most likely to contact your Representative (or Senator) about? Why?
List as many ways as you can find on your Representative's (or Senator's) Web site that indicate how you could get in touch with him/her to express your views. Which of these would you be most likely to use? Why?
Which source do you think Members of Congress are more likely to pay attention to on issues like these?
View concluding statement from Congressman Lee Hamilton on Expressing Political Opinions: