Politics in Graphic Detail

Exploring History through Political Cartoons

Columbia is one of the most famous female personifications of America from the nation’s early days. Columbia is often depicted wearing classical robes and either wearing or holding a Phrygian or liberty cap. She is often drawn holding a sword and shield (sometimes decorated with the flag of the United States) and is frequently accompanied by an American Bald Eagle. Columbia is often depicted as a motherly figure who chastises corrupt politicians. By the early 20th century, Columbia’s popularity declined as Uncle Sam’s increased, and following the completion of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty increasingly supplanted Columbia as the iconic female representation of the United States.