Discussion History should have been different then journalism.

wausaubob

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A good deal of Civil War journalism was written in NYC. The problem is that military news from the Richmond/Maryland theater arrived in a day. News from the naval operations, from the Mississippi River or from the far west, might take days or weeks to get to NYC. Hence it tended to disappear in the rush to create copy.
The US capture of Island No. 10, in the Mississippi River, in April of 1862 provides an example. When a US gunboat ran past the fort at night, it led to the fall of the fort within a week. The ability of steam engine powered vessel to run past a well constructed fort became a crucial part of the war for 14 months, yet it was not covered.
History had the chance to keep track of the events across the entire nation and compile an accurate timeline of those things that mattered. But this was not done.
It started with not realizing that the Midwest states were growing so fast, that by the time the preliminary report of the census was published, in May 1862, it was obsolete. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1862/dec/1860e.html
The diagram on page 120 of the fourth section demonstrated that the results on George Washington's experiment were conclusive. The states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois had dramatically outgrown the south. Abolishing slavery had not hurt New York or Pennsylvania, just the opposite. By 1860, four of the five most populous states were in the northern section of the US. The midwest was experiencing explosive growth.
Few writers, other than Prof. Gallagher, realized that the US, by the first week of June 1862, had captured all the private, public and closed navy yards in the eleven secessionist states. See p. 107. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1862/dec/1860e.html
The Confederacy could survive without Memphis, New Orleans, Pensacola naval yard and Norfolk, but the US navy was gradually going to have a free hand. The US had more than enough money to build and man whatever vessels it needed.
The US effort to suppress the Confederacy always looked worse than it really was. The economy was growing fastest away from NYC. And the war was going best for the US in the most remote places.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Journalism and history are not the same thing, despite publisher Phil Graham's self-important notion that newspapers should provide the "first rough draft of history." (see https://www.readex.com/blog/newspapers-rough-draft-history)

Graham's notion was very much a 20th century conceit and the publishers of the Civil War era generally viewed newspapering more as what would be considered today "advocay journalism." The New York Times and 'Harper's Weekly,' for example, were very much pro-war, pro-Union publications. They did not pretend at objectivity or serious analysis.
 

Juniper

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Maine
Journalism and history are not the same thing, despite publisher Phil Graham's self-important notion that newspapers should provide the "first rough draft of history." (see https://www.readex.com/blog/newspapers-rough-draft-history)

Graham's notion was very much a 20th century conceit and the publishers of the Civil War era generally viewed newspapering more as what would be considered today "advocay journalism." The New York Times and 'Harper's Weekly,' for example, were very much pro-war, pro-Union publications. They did not pretend at objectivity or serious analysis.

I was trying to explain this to my partner the other day. He was claiming that media NOW is more biased than it was then, and I was just like "oh honey". Not that the media is unbiased now, but compared to then it at least tries to make an attempt at apparent objectivity.

It's also really difficult to write history as its happening, because it's hard to know in the moment what will become historically important. I'm sure that people in early 1861 thought that Winfield Scott was going to be far more important to the entire war effort than he ended up being simply because he was famous and prominent and present.
 

wausaubob

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Historians might have realized that when A.S. Johnston assembled an army to counter attack in Tennessee, the Confederacy lost key positions in the west.
Island No. 10 was lost in few days. Farragut ran by the forts at night, copying what had happened up river, and New Orleans fell, which dislocated the Confederate economy. The Confederates abandoned the naval yard at Pensacola, and the defending army in Virginia was too small to hold Norfolk and the Virginia was scuttled. A few more weeks passed and the US destroyed the Confederate flotilla an occupied Memphis.
The historians seem to skip over these facts, as if the Confederacy could lose control of the west, the Mississippi River, its largest commercial city, and its best railroad city on the Mississippi, and it would have no affect on the people.
I can understand how journalists might want to not write about deep these wounds hit the Confederate economy, but the historians know the Confederacy never recovered in the west.
 
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wausaubob

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The historian has a chance to know what was hidden from the journalist. The dynamic process in the north, the junction of the industrial Mid-Atlantic states with the agricultural revolution in the Midwest, gave the US almost unlimited strength.
The Midwest was going to overwhelm the border states. And the US was going to establish naval superiority and enforce such superiority.
 

wausaubob

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All the railroad maps and increased agricultural acreage maps point out the same facts. The secessionists were right they were about to disappear in the political structure. That was correct. But the idea that the US would not fight for nationalist ideas was erroneous.
Just trying to add a new topic, on this snowy Tuesday.
 

Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
I was trying to explain this to my partner the other day. He was claiming that media NOW is more biased than it was then, and I was just like "oh honey". Not that the media is unbiased now, but compared to then it at least tries to make an attempt at apparent objectivity.

It's also really difficult to write history as its happening, because it's hard to know in the moment what will become historically important. I'm sure that people in early 1861 thought that Winfield Scott was going to be far more important to the entire war effort than he ended up being simply because he was famous and prominent and present.
In the mid-nineteenth century a very substantial number of newspapers had party/political affiliations of one kind or another.
 

wausaubob

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Denver, CO
The Civil War was going to be largely determined by the dynamic demographics of the US, and voluntary, international immigration. Both the Preliminary Report and the 1864 final report of the census attempted to explain this, and historians missed it.
The generals who wrote about the war tried to explain that steam engines and telegraph wires changed the nature of continental warfare. Whether these modern elements existed before, the combined affect in the Civil War made it different.
Journalists can excused for not writing about that. They needed words and politicians produced copy.
But historians knew the US was an emerging industrial power, and should have written more about that.
Particularly in naval affairs, steam engines meant that sails were unnecessary and engines could be protected. The French had forshadowed the change and the belligerent that had the industrial capacity to build gunboats and cover steam sloops with anchor chain, had an enormous advantage. General Lee knew it, but historians mainly skip over General Lee's attempts to keep the main fighting away from the navigable portion of the eastern rivers.
 

Pat Answer

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Journalism and history are not the same thing,

In the mid-nineteenth century a very substantial number of newspapers had party/political affiliations of one kind or another.

Journalists can excused for not writing about that. They needed words and politicians produced copy.

The historian has a chance to know what was hidden from the journalist.

Nothing has changed. In the court case of life, the (partisan?) witness and the (impartial?) juror (should!) have different roles...
 

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