Discussion Just for Curiosity: Pre-War Newspaper Comparison

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, May 7, 1859

Below: An example of the code of honor expected to be followed by the Mississippi elite. Here we see public scrutiny heaped upon the father for allowing his son to submit to the rule of law as a remedy instead of following the code of honor.

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, May 7, 1859

Below: I’ve been rather amazed that amidst the growing fears of a pending breakup between the North and South, resolute voices are still calling for the taking of Cuba. I’m wondering if such voices are hoping that a war with Spain will detract from the increasing bitterness and fears developing over the coming election. That would seem reasonable, but there seems to be something more lurking about the issue....

This article (copied from another newspaper, as is common) argues that the US should not consider paying for the island but should simply take it.

I’m beginning to think that some Southerners (and perhaps some Northerners) are thinking along lines like the following: Manifest destiny is the order of the day. Look, the North is not wanting the South to expand her interests out west. Ok, we get it. But we are all the same country and it is not fair to promote one section of the country over the other. Why not allow the South to partake in expansion by having the US take Cuba and perhaps later into the Caribbean?

It’s just a random thought, none of the articles have mentioned anything of the sort. But there seems to be something more to this Cuba thing. I’m astounded how often it keeps coming up in the two newspapers, especially the Yazoo Democrat.

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The New York Herald, June 1, 1859

Below: An interesting Northern perspective which argues that the “non-extension” of slavery, as proposed by Republicans, will actually “promote the interests of the ‘slave power.’”

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, June, 1859

Below: Article outlining grievances of South. Warning the North that talks of disunion are not idle braggadocio. Fears North is unaware of reality of disunion.

This articles does not mention Slavery by name. It Uses term “Northern Agression,” and cites Tarrifs; references 10th Amendment and unequal treatment in Territories as basis of grievances.

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, June, 1859

Below: Cuban Coolies vs. African Slaves.

The Yazoo Democrat reports that sometime in 1858 Louisiana sugar planters visited Cuba to examine the island’s use of Coolies on its sugar plantations. Being pleased with what they found, the Louisiana planters made application to Secretary Treasurer Cobb to introduce the practice in the US.

Although Slavery was legal in Cuba, the island was under increasing foreign pressure to abolish the institution. In an attempt to transition away from slavery, Cuba began to import Coolies, largely from China, to work on the island’s sugar plantations.
(Eventually, after the Civil War, the US would use Chinese Coolies in construction of railroads out west.)

Secretary Cobb reviewed the Louisiana planters’ application but initially suspected that such activity would be nothing more than attempts to circumvent the laws against the African Slave Trade. He thus refused such application. However, Cobb later withdrew his opposition, stating that Coolies could be brought into the country as apprentices.

The Yazoo Democrat expresses its opposition to the introduction of Coolies into the South. According to the Yazoo, introduction of Coolies would disrupt the moral authority of African Slavery.

According to the Yazoo, Slaves are the planters’ capital, creating special duties upon planter and slave. Introducing Coolies as apprentices would disrupt this order, bring about “absolute free labor,” remove the paternal duties economically required of planters toward their slaves.

If it is shown that it is cheaper for a planter to hire Coolies than it is to provide for and keep his slaves, the social order of the South would be ruined. It would allow atrocities to be committed by planters and would ultimately pit white labor against Coolie labor.

In short, the South’s labor must be limited to that of African slaves. If the South needs and requires more labor, it must import more Africans.

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The New York Herald, July 1, 1859

The July 1 issue of the Herald was largely consumed by the Franco-Austrian conflict in Europe. Also known as the The Second War for Italian Independence, that conflict played a pivotal role in the eventual unification of the Itilian peninsula.
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, July 2, 1859

Below: A speech delivered by D.C. Glenn (I believe he was attorney general of Mississippi) in Yazoo City regarding repeal of the African Slave Trade. It is summarized by the Yazoo Democrat.

The first part of the speech expresses the regret that the act of illegal slave trading, outlawed in 1808 by operation of the Constitution, was later codified by statute (in 1820) to be an act of piracy punishable by death. Mr. Glenn asserts as his opinion that, because of the severity of the punishment so added to the crime, no southern juror was likely to find a person so accused as guilty when the punishment is so severe.
(Jury nullification of a law is proposed here. Also, that many ((if not most)) of the ships engaged in the illegal trade were of Northern origin, I suppose this is also a reminder to future slavers thus caught and accused to make sure they find themselves before a federal court in the South. That’s just my take on it however.)

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, July 2, 1859

D.C. Glenn speech continued.

In this part of the speech, Glenn asserts that the Federal Government’s ability to control the flow of any form of property into a state is dangerous to states’ rights. Moreover, it is Glenn’s belief that each state can determine whether or not it needs more slaves. He cites Mississippi’s decision in 1833 to prohibit introduction of slaves into its borders as an example.

Glenn then argues that there is no difference, criminally speaking, in the trafficking of slaves within the US and that of trafficking slaves from the coast of Africa. In Glenn’s estimation, It makes economic sense to repeal the law, for Slaves are purchased cheaper from Africa than from within the US.

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Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
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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Deplorable!

Honest to Goodness, nothing that happens today has ever happened before in history!
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
The Yazoo Democrat, July 2, 1859

D.C. Glenn speech continued.

In the final parts of his speech, Glenn touches on the monopoly older Southern states have on the interstate trade of slaves over the younger Southern States like Texas and Arkansas. Texas, in particular, is in need of “hundreds of thousands of slaves but is unable to pay the prices charged in the other states.”

According to Glenn, it is unjust that Texas is forced to pay high prices to the older states for slave labor. Repeal of the African Slave Trade would, evidently, help to correct this.

However, it appears that the illegal transportation of slaves into the US was alive and well - at least according to Glenn. This view seems in agreement with Wikipedia, wherein it is stated that America continued to engage in the practice. It is stated that 1/3 of all slave ships during this time were either owned by American merchants or were outfitted in American ports during this time. There seemed to be little enforcement of the law. Wikipedia cites newspaper accounts that assert that at least 7 slave ships were “regularly fitted out in New York, and many more in all the larger ports.”

Apparently the Trade continued in great numbers despite the laws and penalties of death as well. (According to Wiki, The death penalty for violation of the law had never been carried out - at least up until the time of Glenn’s speech).

Nevertheless, Glenn (in arguing that Africans arriving in America are found to be in perfect health) not only asserts that Africans are better off for being brought to America, for they prefer this country to Africa, but also
encourages his listeners to travel to New Orleans to inspect for themselves the conditions of “the newly imported blacks.”

Evidently, although smuggling of Africans into the South continued, it was not enough to increase supply and effectively lower the costs, allowing older Southern States continued enjoyment of higher prices for their slaves now needed in the lower South and in Texas.

Evident also in all this is Glenn’s belief that the continued high prices of slaves would ultimately threaten the institution and bring about abolition in the long run. As he states, such high prices will cause Texas to become “careless as to the perpetuity of the institution.”

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
New York Herald, July 31, 1859

Below: Haïti has recently undergone a revolution that returned the mulatto elite to power. Among the continued irritants of the country is America’s refusal to recognize Haiti as a country and its disrespect of the African.

The Herald reprints an article by the Fuelle du Commerce, a Haitian paper base in Port-au-Prince. In it, the Fuelle calls for a boycott of American goods and accuses the US of racism.

The article seems directed at the Northern United States, asserting that the north refuses to emancipate blacks socially and that Haiti should retaliate by refusing to buy American goods.

However, the Haitian paper questions whether the people of Haiti have the will to exert its independence by ending their dependency on America.

The Haitian paper begins by stating that of all the islands, Haiti is the greatest consumer of American goods. Yet America does not reciprocate by recognizing Haiti as a free and sovereign nation. The Fuelle du Commerce proposes that Haiti stop trading with the US but is concerned over the Haitian peoples’ persistent refusal to “develop and extend the natural resources of her soil.”

It warns its countrymen that if this state of affairs continues, “Haytiens will have to depend more and more, from year to year, on the [US] . . . for the first necessities of their material existence.”

America’s lack of reciprocity does not end with its failure to recognize Haiti as a nation but extends to its blanket hatred of blacks.

According to the Fuelle du Commerce, such American conduct is the “inevitable consequence of the invincible prejudice of color - of the hatred of the black race.” Such is aggravated “on the least contact of the race with the American people.” The Haitian paper goes on to assert That America’s social prejudice is so strong that it even excludes blacks from public places, schools, manufacturing and churches.

While Americans “speak, write, and preach without cessation of principles of religion, and of charity, to judge by the naked truth of what is passing in their very midst in this respect, tacit real and true aim in incessantly agitating the question of social emancipation of the blacks, is nothing but a political maneuver, necessary for the success of certain measures which exclusively interest the white population of one state or the other of the Federation.”

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Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Long Island, NY
The Yazoo Democrat, July 2, 1859

D.C. Glenn speech continued.

In the final parts of his speech, Glenn touches on the monopoly older Southern states have on the interstate trade of slaves over the younger Southern States like Texas and Arkansas. Texas, in particular, is in need of “hundreds of thousands of slaves but is unable to pay the prices charged in the other states.”

According to Glenn, it is unjust that Texas is forced to pay high prices to the older states for slave labor. Repeal of the African Slave Trade would, evidently, help to correct this.

However, it appears that the illegal transportation of slaves into the US was alive and well - at least according to Glenn. This view seems in agreement with Wikipedia, wherein it is stated that America continued to engage in the practice. It is stated that 1/3 of all slave ships during this time were either owned by American merchants or were outfitted in American ports during this time. There seemed to be little enforcement of the law. Wikipedia cites newspaper accounts that assert that at least 7 slave ships were “regularly fitted out in New York, and many more in all the larger ports.”

Apparently the Trade continued in great numbers despite the laws and penalties of death as well. (According to Wiki, The death penalty for violation of the law had never been carried out - at least up until the time of Glenn’s speech).

Nevertheless, Glenn (in arguing that Africans arriving in America are found to be in perfect health) not only asserts that Africans are better off for being brought to America, for they prefer this country to Africa, but also
encourages his listeners to travel to New Orleans to inspect for themselves the conditions of “the newly imported blacks.”

Evidently, although smuggling of Africans into the South continued, it was not enough to increase supply and effectively lower the costs, allowing older Southern States continued enjoyment of higher prices for their slaves now needed in the lower South and in Texas.

Evident also in all this is Glenn’s belief that the continued high prices of slaves would ultimately threaten the institution and bring about abolition in the long run. As he states, such high prices will cause Texas to become “careless as to the perpetuity of the institution.”

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These pleas for more justice for slaveowners seem so insane to us, don't they?
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
New York Herald, July 31, 1859

Haiti’s complaints against US continued.

Below: The Fuelle du Commerce castigates the Haitian people for their lack of industry and unwillingness to produce the necessary goods from the abundant natural resources already existing in Haiti. Instead, they are dependent for their entire necessities on a United States that has “no sympathy for the African race.” It also informs its readers that when Americans use the term “negro,” it means mulatto as well.

Since the US does not accept blacks as social equals, it should no longer trade with America but purchase from Canada - which allows blacks to use public accommodations and otherwise treat Africans with respect.

Strangely, the article then asks if the United States can continue to trade with Haiti on “the footing of internal reciprocity.”

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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
New York Herald, July 31, 1859

Below: The Herald examines the article written by the Haitian newspaper above, declaring that it “gives a fair sample of negro logic and of negro statesmanship.”

It also warns “the tribe of abolitionists” like Wendel Phillips and Lloyd Garrison that they should not read it “as it might hurt their feelings to see these things there.”

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ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
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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.

Almost all of the articles cited involve slavery and race in some part. For example, the acquisition of Cuba is tied to the notion of having an additional slave state in the Union.

Are there articles involving tariffs or taxes or the like on the front page? I think you see what I'm getting at...

- Alan
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Almost all of the articles cited involve slavery and race in some part. For example, the acquisition of Cuba is tied to the notion of having an additional slave state in the Union.

Are there articles involving tariffs or taxes or the like on the front page? I think you see what I'm getting at...

- Alan
Thanks for reading, @ForeverFree! My goal is to report the articles as they come to me in each issue while trying my best to understand those articles within their context. A few in fact mention tarrifs and taxes. Nevertheless, I have a long way to go but do appreciate you reading them and also welcome any and all comments related to the content of individual articles so posted.
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
New York Herald, July 31, 1859

Below: The Herald gives its opinion of the upcoming West Indies Jubilee celebrations.

The West Indies Jubilees celebrated the British Abolition Act of 1834 which emancipated 800,000 slaves in West Indies. In northeast America, it proved one of the largest abolitionist events, viewed by abolitionists not only as a celebration, but also as foretelling the eventual abolition of slavery in the United States.

The New York Herald lists each British possession in the West Indies, asking its readers what, exactly, had emancipation done for the blacks therein. It doesn’t seem to answer that question directly, except to state that the cultivation of the region is not as great as it was 30 or 40 years ago and that the slaves were “cheerful and satisfied” before emancipation.

The Herald also cites deplorable economic metrics since emancipation by the British Act and predicts the same would occur here.

“Thus it will be seen that emancipation in the West Indies has resulted in the ruin, beggary and abandonment as of fine possessions as can be found on the earth’s surface. . . . . It is worse than idle twaddle to talk about a negro working for wages. He will not do it, be the consequence what they may. See him here - see him in Canada - see him in the West Indies, where he might have constant employment at highly remunerative wages, and what is he? Certainly not an industrious laborer.”

The New York Herald concludes by asserting that West Indie emancipation “should warn and dissuade all sensible men from following suit in a game that has proved so disastrous, not only to the negro but to the white man - the jubilees and celebrations in it commemoration to the contrary notwithstanding.”

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ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
The Yazoo Democrat, June, 1859

Below: Article outlining grievances of South. Warning the North that talks of disunion are not idle braggadocio. Fears North is unaware of reality of disunion.

This articles does not mention Slavery by name. It Uses term “Northern Agression,” and cites Tarrifs; references 10th Amendment and unequal treatment in Territories as basis of grievances.

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Actually, this article has several references to slavery:
• There is a reference to the "Black Republicans" - a phrase used to signify that the Republican Party favors racial equality/the end of slavery (they are the negro-lover party)
• The phrase "with our institutions free from interference and protected" refers to slavery
• The phrase "Northern pulpits denounce us as Christians" refers to Northerners who describe slavery as a sin
• The phrase "we are cheated out of our rights in the common territories" refers to free soil-ism (no slavery in the territories)

Note that, this is not coded language. The readers of The Yazoo Democrat would have known the meaning of these phrases.

- Alan
 
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