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John Confucius

John Chinaman was a stock caricature of a Chinese laborer seen in cartoons of the 19th century.[1] Also referenced by Mark Twain and popular American songs of the period,[2] John Chinaman represented, in western society, a typical persona of China. He was typically depicted with a long queue and wearing a coolie hat.

American political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who often depicted John Chinaman, created a variant, John Confucius, to represent Chinese political figures.

In Nast's cartoon "A Matter of Taste", published March 15, 1879 (seen at right), John Confucius expresses disapproval of Senator James G. Blaine for his support of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Blaine is shown dining in "Kearney's Senatorial Restaurant"—a reference to Dennis Kearney, the leader of a violent anti-Chinese movement in California. John Confucius asks, "How can Christians stomach such diet?"

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