Cover image for The Civil War and the press
The Civil War and the press
Sachsman, David B.
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Transaction Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
xx, 584 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E609 .C58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The power of the American press to influence and even set the political agenda is commonly associated with the rise of such press barons as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at the turn of the century. The latter even took credit for instigating the Spanish-American War. Their power, however, had deeper roots in the journalistic culture of the nineteenth century, particularly in the social and political conflicts that climaxed with the Civil War. Until now historians have paid little attention to the role of the press in defining and disseminating the conflicting views of the North and the South in the decades leading up to the Civil War. In The Civil War and the Press historians, political scientists, and scholars of journalism measure the influence of the press, explore its diversity, and profile the prominent editors and publishers of the day.

The book is divided into three sections covering the role of the press in the prewar years, throughout the conflict itself, and during the Reconstruction period. Part 1, "Setting the Agenda for Secession and War," considers the rise of the consumer society and the journalistic readership, the changing nature of editorial standards and practice, the issues of abolitionism, secession, and armed resistence as reflected in Northern and Southern newspapers, the reporting on John Brown's Harper's Ferry raid, and the influence of journalism on the 1860 election results. Part 2, "In Time of War," includes discussions of journalistic images and ideas of womanhood in the context of war, the political orientation of the Jewish press, the rise of illustrated periodicals, and issues of censorship and opposition journalism. The chapters in Part 3, "Reconstructing a Nation," detail the infiltration of the former Confederacy by hundreds of federally subsidized Republican newspapers, editorial reactions to the developing issue of voting rights for freed slaves, and the journalistic mythologization of Jesse James as a resister of Reconstruction laws and conquering Unionists.

In tracing the confluence of journalism and politics from its source, this groundbreaking volume opens a wide variety of perspectives on a crucial period in American history while raising questions that remain pertainent to contemporary tensions between press power and government power. The Civil War and the Press will be essential reading for historians, media studies specialists, political scientists, and readers interested in the Civil War period.

Author Notes

David Sachsman is a professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he holds the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs. He is the co-author of The Press and the Suburbs (available from Transaction) and has written the journalism history section for Media: An Introductory Analysis of Mass Communications.

S. Kittrell Rushing is professor and head of the University of Tennessee Department of Communication.

Debra Reddin van Tuyll is assistant professor of communications at Augusta State University in Georgia.

Table of Contents

David B. SachsmanYvonne CarignanSteven G. SaltzgiverNancy McKenzie DupontBernell E. TrippRobert C. KennedyLeonard Ray TeelJ. Michael Robertson and Alton LoftisGene MurrayDavid A. CopelandNancy McKenzie DupontS. Kittrell RushingRobert DardenneDavid MindichJanet M. CramerBarbara Straus ReedFord RisleyHazel Dicken-Garcia and Janet M. CramerDebra Reddin van TuyllReed W. SmithWilliam E. HuntzickerBarbara Straus ReedHazel Dicken-GarciaLisa M. DaigleRobert DardenneJohn GlenKatherine E. RobertsDebra Reddin van TuyllBarbara Straus ReedRichard H. AbbottKenneth RystromJanice L. BukovacRichard KaplanCathy M. Jackson
List of Tablesp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Part I. Setting the Agenda for Secession and War
1. Western Maryland Newspapers, 1820-1860: American Culture in Transitionp. 3
2. Consensus and Public Debate: The Washington Press During the Nullification Crisis, 1832-1833p. 21
3. Mississippi Newspapers and the Secession Convention: The Influence on Anti-Secessionist Porter Jacob Myersp. 37
4. "John Brown Still Lives!": The Case of John Brownp. 49
5. Censorship, Racism and the Antebellum Press: Harper's Weekly Reports Harper's Ferryp. 63
6. Abolitionism at the Crossroads: Lydia Maria Child and the National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1841-1843p. 75
7. "I hear nothing about me now but politics -- slavery, and antislavery ad nauseam.": Paul Hamilton Hayne and the Editorial Policy of Russell's Magazine, 1857-1860p. 93
8. The Lion's Roar: Cassius Clay's The True Americanp. 107
9. Preserving a Denomination: The Promotion of Women by North Carolina's Antebellum Baptist Pressp. 123
10. Mississippi's Fire-Eating Editor Ethelbert Barksdale and the Election of 1860p. 137
11. Agenda-Setting in Antebellum East Tennesseep. 147
12. Between Tradition and Innovation: The Nature of Antebellum News in the Courantp. 161
Part II. In Time of War
13. Edwin M. Stanton, the Inverted Pyramid, and Information Controlp. 179
14. For Women and the War: A Cultural Analysis of the Mayflower, 1861-1864p. 209
15. Isaac Leeser and The Occident: A Jewish Leader's Response to the Civil Warp. 227
16. The Albany Patriot, 1861-1865: Struggling to Publish and Struggling to Remain Optimisticp. 245
17. Images of Women in Civil War Newspapers: Leave the "Proper Sphere"p. 257
18. Two Men, Two Minds: An Examination of the Editorial Commentary of Two Georgia Editors During Sherman's March to the Seap. 275
19. The Paradox of Samuel Medary, Copperhead Newspaper Publisherp. 291
20. Picturing the News: Frank Leslie and the Origins of American Pictorial Journalismp. 309
21. Jewish Press Coverage of an Anti-Semitic Act: Grant's Order No. 11p. 325
22. Visibility of Women in Newspaper Advertisements During the Civil Warp. 349
23. Samuel Chester Reid, Jr.: Confederate Correspondent, 1861-1864p. 373
24. Devil to Clown: News Coverage of the Capture of Jefferson Davisp. 389
25. Journalistic Impedimenta: William Tecumseh Sherman and Free Expressionp. 407
26. The Role of the First Lady and the Media: A Preliminary Case Study of New York Times Coverage of Mary Todd Lincoln, 1861-1865p. 419
27. Journalists First, Rebels Second: An Examination of Editorial Reaction to the President's Proposed Conscription of Newspapermenp. 437
28. Isaac Mayer Wise, The Israelite, and the Civil Warp. 451
Part III. Reconstructing a Nation
29. Republican Newspapers and Freedom of the Press in the Reconstruction South, 1865-1877p. 473
30. Suffrage for Freedmen: The Specter of Dred Scottp. 485
31. The Michigan Democratic Press and the Fifteenth Amendment: A Divided Party Unitedp. 503
32. Partisan News in the Early Reconstruction Era: Representations of African-Americans in Detroit's Daily Pressp. 519
33. Wanted Dead or Alive: How Nineteenth Century Missouri Journalists Framed Jesse Jamesp. 547
Indexp. 571