Discussion Just for Curiosity: Pre-War Newspaper Comparison

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alan polk

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Just out of my own curiosity, I’ve decided to use Chronicling America to read the front page of two newspapers -one north and one south- for the first of each of the months between 1859-1860. I am just curious to see what national/international issues they were discussing during the run up to War.

For no particular reason, other than I wanted the Southern Newspaper to be from my home state, I chose the Yazoo Democrat (Mississippi) and the New York Herald to compare.

It will probably take me a while as I’ll only do this when I have time. But as I alluded to, I’m only going to read the front page of each paper and limit the ones I do read to the editions published on the first of each month.

So, anyway, I’m gonna give it a try.
 
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alan polk

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New York Herald. January 1, 1859
Cynical and comedic observation of Mississippi’s supposed preparation for war. (The underestimation of each other already underway).
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New York Herald. January 1, 1859
Below: Ship (possibly of northern origin) Alleged to be involved in illegal slave trade.
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A
 
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alan polk

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The Yazoo Democrat, February 5, 1859
Below: Seems to indicate that Abolition and the equality of races theories are lies perpetrated by, or nothing more than, European, theoretical and abstract constructs. Such theories not empirically verifiable. Those in the South that argue against Abolitionist in public but uphold their theory in private, should be exposed.
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alan polk

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New York Herald, February 5, 1859
Below: Debate on acquisition of Cuba. Senetor Jefferson Davis states that such is necessary for the nation as a whole, that Europe will not intervene if US acquires Cuba without purchase; New York representative claims Cuba discussion is a political ploy to distract.
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alan polk

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New York Herald, February 1, 1859
Below: Resolution introduced to reaffirm commitment to laws prohibiting Foreign African Slave Trade in response to newspaper editorials and other demonstrations for the repeal of the said law. (Or something like that).
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JPK Huson 1863

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It is a great thread, thank you! Era papers can be a little squirrely, fyi. First page news sometimes ended up on page 2 or 3, no screaming, huge print headlines on page one. Wonder when they got around to EXTRA EXTRA, read all about it?
 

alan polk

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It is a great thread, thank you! Era papers can be a little squirrely, fyi. First page news sometimes ended up on page 2 or 3, no screaming, huge print headlines on page one. Wonder when they got around to EXTRA EXTRA, read all about it?
Thanks for looking, JPK. Yeah, you’re right. I’m just lazy about it but also know full well that if I started peaking at other pages besides the front, I’d never get anywhere and end up in rabbit holes. Right now I’m just trying to get a broad feel of what the two papers in the two different sections of the country were up too and what they deemed important.
 
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alan polk

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Good thread. Of course the NY Herald was the largest circulation daily of its time. The Yazoo Democrat had a somewhat smaller readership!

The Herald was edited by James Gordon Bennett , an immigrant from Scotland.
Thanks for the info. True about size. I imagine all newspapers from Mississippi would be limited compared to the Herald or most other northern papers. Actually, I wanted to use a New England city for comparison, particularly Boston. However, (as far as I could determine) Chronicling America does not have any antebellum papers from Massachusetts digitized.
 

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Thanks for the info. True about size. I imagine all newspapers from Mississippi would be limited compared to the Herald or most other northern papers. Actually, I wanted to use a New England city for comparison, particularly Boston. However, (as far as I could determine) Chronicling America does not have any antebellum papers from Massachusetts digitized.
I like the Herald because it was Democratic in orientation, but did not march in lockstep with the party.
 
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alan polk

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The Yazoo Democrat, March 5, 1859
Below: Interesting account of exchange between Owen Lovejoy and O.R. Singleton regarding Fugitive Slave Laws and perceived Northern hypocrisy.
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I was unaware of Owen Lovejoy, although I was vaguely familiar with his brother, Elija Lovejoy, who was a newspaper owner and was murdered by a mob in 1830s for his abolitionist beliefs.
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Above, O. R. Singleton, Mississippi representative.

Lovejoy has his own Wikipedia page. The event described in the above newspaper article is discussed there. However, either the Wikipedia quote of the exchange is highly exaggerated or the newspaper’s article downplays the wording of the exchange.

Below is Wikipedia’s version of the exchange:
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Nevertheless, the hypocrisy noted by Singleton seems to revolve less around Lovejoy’s unwillingness to provide for the care of the fugitive slaves while awaiting return, but that his ancestors took part in the African slavetrade. (Or, at least, that’s how I read it.)
The closest relative I could find that might suggest Lovejoy’s ancestors might have partaken in the slavevteade is his cousin, Nathan Farwell. According to Farwell’s Wikipedia page, he was a senator from Main who was involved with shipping and trading at one time. Perhaps the connection, if any, is through that line.

If anyone is familiar with Lovejoy or this incident I would appreciate any input.
 
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alan polk

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The Yazoo Democrat, March 5, 1859

Below: In the February edition of the New York Herald posted above, a resolution to Congress was introduced reaffirming the laws making the African slave trade illegal. That resolution was introduced because of the urging by some people to repeal it. The below is an example of such demonstration.
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