The Woman Who Published "The Reconstructionist": Firebrand and Arson

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Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I am reading the new book The Impeachers and I can across a newspaper that I never heard of before, The Reconstructionist. Here is what author Brenda Wineapple says about the woman who ran the paper:

Jane Grey Swisshelm was sacked from the quartermaster’s office mainly because, since 1865, she’d also been publishing
a newspaper, The Reconstructionist, critical of the administration—and staffed by women without regard to color, giving it twice the circulation of any Washington newspaper, Swisshelm had joked early on. A divorcée and single mother, a longtime publisher in Pennsylvania and Minnesota advocating women’s rights, a freelancer for Greeley’s Tribune, and a nurse during the war as well as a clerk in the War Department, where she and Stanton became friends, Swisshelm was small in stature and described by those who hated her as having a face like a hatchet. They hated her because she was intentionally provocative. She’d rented two floors of a building on Tenth Street between N and O Streets, and declared in the prospectus of The Reconstructionist that “liberty is in danger of betrayal.” And liberty’s leading betrayer was Andrew Johnson: “His ambition was and is, to be the hero of Southern chivalry,
to restore to slaveholders their lost dominion over their slaves, and to do this he will risk all.” Swisshelm dubbed Johnson’s veto of the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill “the Sumter guns of this second era of the war” and accused Johnson of murdering Lincoln yet again by killing the peace—and the freedmen. [Wineapple, Brenda. The Impeachers (p. 133). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]
 
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