Just for Curiosity: Pre-War Newspaper Comparison

JPK Huson 1863

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#21
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.

Feel your pain! You're right of course- turn the page and it's all over. You'd spend hours you'll never see again reading the most delightful, random articles. Here's what's so funny- articles on scandalous tidbits are awfully similar. North and South we sure loved the gossipy stuff. " Husband finds boots under his bed, not his ". That kind of thing. That's a true story ( may not be exact words ), point of the story was when he pulled them out a man came with them.
 

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alan polk

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#22
The New York Herald, March 1, 1859

Below: Most of front page for this day was plastered with news of ol’ Dan Sickles’s murder of Phillip Keys. Keys was son of Francis Scott Keys and nephew of Justice Taney. Sickles would lose a leg at Gettysburg 4 years later.
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alan polk

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#24
The Yazoo Democrat, April 2, 1859

Below: The acquisition of Cuba continues to be an important issue to the Yazoo Democrat. In this issue, the paper discusses the uproar among Northern newspapers caused by a speech delivered by Senetor Albert Brown of Mississippi.

Brown’s speech was delivered at Tammany Hall in New York, and was, apparently, well received by those in attendance.

However, it launched an uproar among some northern news outlets, both liberal and conservative alike. It was due to the frankness with which Brown asserts his reasoning for Cuba’s acquisition: The expansion of slavery.

For the Republican papers it confirmed their beliefs of the true reasons for attempting to acquire Cuba. For the northern Democrat papers, Brown’s speech went against their measured talking points regarding the issue.

Of interest here is how the use of the word “expansion” in close proximity to the word “slavery,” rather than slavery itself, appears to be the true point of contention at the north.

The “Washington Union” - a paper, evidently, favoring the Buchanan administration - had to explain away Brown’s speech in a manner that refutes his idea that acquiring Cuba would actually constitute the “expansion” of slavery.

The Yazoo Democrat seems to have fun examining the sensation caused among the various northern papers in regards to Brown’s speech.

If anything, this article reveals just how similar today’s politics are beginning to mirror prewar America, especially as it concerns our major news outlets and social media.

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Robtweb1

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#25
I enjoy this thread very much. Particularly those articles pertaining to Cuba. My great-grandfather and at least part of the family immigrated here in the 1850's to escape the civil war against Spain going on there at the time. He became a surgeon in the Confederate Army (see the link to the book I wrote about him - De Aragon, The Chronicle of a Confederate Surgeon).
 

alan polk

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#26
The Yazoo Democrat, April 2, 1859

Below: The Democrat reports on the Massachusetts state legislature’s attempts to undermine Fugitive Slave Law.

The Yazoo Democrat’s unconcern over the action seems to stem from its belief that any state law regarding the matter is trumped by Federal law.

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alan polk

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#27
New York Herald, April 1, 1859

Below: Much of the North followed the progress of the Paraguay Expedition. Such expedition is considered one of America’s use of “Gunboat Diplomacy.”

In 1858, The Buchanan administration sent a navy fleet to Paraguay to demand that it apologize for firing on an American Ship, “Water Witch,” in 1855 as it surveyed portions the South American coast. (As a side note, the “Water Witch” would later serve in the Civil War for the Union before being captured by Confederates in 1864.)

Below is a Brazilian paper’s view of the expedition that was published in the Herald.

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alan polk

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#28
The New York Herald, April 1, 1859

Below: The Herald seems to take a wait and see attitude toward changes in Haiti.

Earlier that year, the self proclaimed Haitian emperor, Soulouque, was overthrown.

Soulouque had despised the light skinned ruling elite and was able to establish black rule in 1849, after coordinating massacres of mulattos. He launched several failed attacks to retake the Dominican Republic. According to Wikipedia, He also reestablished Voodoo, keeping priestesses and male witches in his administration.

Soulouque was eventually overthrown by Fabre Geffrard, a mulatto, who reestablished the mulatto ruling elites to power in 1859. He is noted for suppressing voodoo And reestablishing Catholicism.

In this article Geffrard is calling for black Americans to come to Haiti with arms to help establish his regime.

He, in turn, would be overthrown in 1867.

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alan polk

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#29
The Yazoo Democrat, May, 1859

Below: My Historical interpretation might be a bit off but this seems to address the potential fracturing of the Democratic Party. By 1859, the Whig Party was no longer extant. The Republican Party (called “Black Republicans” by the Yazoo Newspaper) was filling the vacuum there and gaining acolytes elsewhere. Democrats were splitting, not over the question of whether slavery could in fact expand into the territories, but over the role the Federal government should play in regards to slavery in such territories before a state votes whether to allow the institution within its newly created borders.

Nevertheless, the article presages a potential Democratic split and a resulting “Black Republican” victory if the Democrats did not unite. The Republicans are seen as merely a sectional party that might be propelled into national prominence by a fractured Democratic Party.

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alan polk

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#31
I enjoy this thread very much. Particularly those articles pertaining to Cuba. My great-grandfather and at least part of the family immigrated here in the 1850's to escape the civil war against Spain going on there at the time. He became a surgeon in the Confederate Army (see the link to the book I wrote about him - De Aragon, The Chronicle of a Confederate Surgeon).
I’m glad you enjoyed. I didn’t see a link to your book. It sounds interesting!
 

alan polk

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#34
The New York Herald, May 1, 1859

Below: Methodist resolutions in regard to slavery and slaveholders in the church. Not sure of the significance of this in 1859 as I thought this issue was already resolved in the 1840s. It must be a point of mere details but not sure. Nevertheless, it represents the continued religious split over the “peculiar institution” in religious circles in 1859.
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alan polk

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#35
The New York Herald, May 1, 1859

Directly below the Methodist ad regarding slaveholding in the Church, this article gives a secular argument to northern audiences against abolition. Supposedly written by a foreign visitor, it makes an economic argument against the abolition of some 4 million slaves and the potential political problems it would pose for the US. In addition to the economic and political arguments, the article uses Craniometry (or so it appears to me) to explain the inferiority of the black race.

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alan polk

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#37
The New York Herald, May 1, 1859

Below: Rumors of a Cuban Revolution are unfounded as of yet. The article, however, warns American filibusters [a term applied to persons who engage in unauthorized military actions to foment revolution inside foreign countries] to beware, as Spanish authorities are on the lookout for those arriving to Cuba on American ships.
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alan polk

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#38
The Yazoo Democrat, May 7, 1859

Below: The rise of the Republican Party and fracturing of the Whig Party earlier in the decade is clearly being felt. Those Whig members who, after their party dissolved, did not realign with the Democratic Party either joined the Republicans or became members of various other groups known, collectively, as “The Opposition.”

This group was of great concern to the Democrats before the run up to the 1860 election. To make matters worse for The Yazoo Democrat, the Republicans seemed intent on gathering into their ranks those Opposition members who opposed the extension of slavery. This article cites the New York Tribune’s discussion of the Republican strategy to “fuse” Opposition voters with Republicans, particularly Opposition Southerners of the Upper South.

The labeling here is rather ahead of its time, seeming more a product of today’s social media branding: Black Republicans and Opposition becomes B.R. O.s (as in Brothers). I thought the slang “bro” was more a middle 20th Century slang, but it is used here in 1859.

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alan polk

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#39
The Yazoo Democrat, May 7, 1859

Below: The real possibility of Republicans winning the presidency is being felt here. Many Southerners began preparations for dealing with such a reality. Below are resolutions introduced by William Barry and eventually adopted on behalf of Democrats in Columbus, MS. The resolutions are to be introduced at the State Convention.

The resolutions essentially call for separation from the Union if Republicans win the presidency - as any such victory would represent a sectional victory only, and would therefore not represent the interests of the South at all. In fact, such an election would represent an action against the South. As a consequence, the South should not permit or accept the inauguration of such president over it, leaving that president, rather, to rule over the North only.

It is also hoped in these resolutions that other Southern States will submit similar resolutions collectively so that the rest of the country will recognize the degree of danger in which the Union of States might find themselves if a sectional party wins the executive.

William Barry was a graduate of Yale College and a member of the famed Skull and Bones Society. He had served as a Congressional representative in the mid-1850s; would go on to serve as president of the State (MS) Secession Convention and the Confederate Provisional Congress. Barry would also join the Confederate army and raise the 35th Mississippi Regiment.

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