Skip Header

The Progressives and the 1920 Census

Activity Description

The Progressives and the 1920 Census

Students will interpret and analyze a political cartoon about the 1920 Census to better understand how the census was related to the Progressive movement of the early 20th century. In addition, students will use other historical information to make inferences and adopt a specific historical perspective. This activity would be most useful following a unit about the Progressives.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to interpret a cartoon about the 1920 Census, explaining the caption and illustration in context.
  • Students will be able to apply evidence drawn from a 1920 Census cartoon to major issues and themes of the Progressive movement.
  • Students will be able to explain the role of census data in political movements.

Materials Required

The student version of this activity, 15 pages

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity.

  • 1920 Decennial Census Political Cartoon
  • Information About the 1920 Census
  • Country of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population
  • Year of Immigration of the Foreign-Born Population
  • Number and Percentage Illiterate

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze primary sources.


High School History


  • Changes in the 1920s
  • Immigration
  • Political cartoons
  • Progressive movement

Skills Taught

  • Adopting a historical perspective
  • Analyzing a political cartoon
  • Making inferences
Back to Header