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Journalism during the Civil War
Transcript of Journalism during the Civil War
Shelby Harris U.S. History P.6
The Civil War was the first war that was widely covered by the press. There was an estimation of 500 reporters from the North and the South covering this conflict. More than 3,000 cartoons and illustrations were published. There were also editorials and articles about the conflict. As a result from this, the press had played a very special role in the world, just like the war had played a significant role in the development of the press.
In the antebellum period American Journalism had experienced dramatic growth and development. Since the early part of the 18th Century, newspapers had existed in the American Colonies. America had more than 200 Newspapers, including 24 dailies.
The Conflict that Started it All
The Gazette of the United States, promoted the ideas of Alexander Hamilton and the other Federalists. The National Gazette spoke for Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans. A typical newspaper published between 1784 and 1830 was political reporting, which often consisted of harsh, and sometimes false information. "If ever a nation was debauched by a man," Aurora editor Benjamin Franklin Bache wrote, "the American nation has been debauched by Washington". The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 punished some journalists for their bold reporting, but even early American reporters enjoyed the freedom promised by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."
Journalism is Growing
The demand for newspapers in both the North and South had gone up during the Civil War.
“The people were clamoring for news about the war. Almost everyone knew someone who was fighting, whether it was a family member, or a friend, or a neighbor.”
While the Southern press was not as prepared to face the demand for war reporting as the North, the need for that information in the Confederacy was even more vital. When Union troops invaded the South, editors and journalists strained to provide information to readers on troop movements and possible targets.
The Significant Impact
The number of publications increased in these early years of independence so that in 1820 America had 512 newspapers. The press in America remained pretty much the same, however, until the 1830s. John Tebbel, author of The Compact History of the American Newspaper, explains: "From its use as a revolutionary propaganda machine to its hardly concealed official position as a private organ of a President, it had encompassed the range of partisan expression at the expense of truth and responsibility. As a tool of party and politicians, it had not attained any particular distinction except in the excellence of writing which the best statesmen and editors brought to it"
Besides Gettysburg and Antietam, the war was largely fought in the South. So the people in the South obviously had a real stake in the war.
I believe this is a very well put together video that explains the many parts of Journalism during the Civil War. This video covered some of things that I did not explain. Also while watching this you get to be a part of what happened by knowing the process of Journalism throughout the Civil War. It informs you very well.
Risley, Ford. "How The US Civil War Changed Journalism." Futurity. Matthew Swayne, 6 Dec. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://www.futurity.org/how-the-us-civil-war-changed-journalism/>.
Canada, Mark. "Antebellum American." Antebellum American 1784-1865. Mark Canada, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/17841865/history/journal.htm>.
Comm455/History of Journalism." Comm455History of Journalism RSS. Sam Snider, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://historyofjournalism.onmason.com/2009/09/30/journalism-during-americas-greatest-conflict/>.
"Style." Washington Post. N.p., 02 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-03-02/lifestyle/35446723_1_war-correspondent-war-veterans-civil-war>.
Risley, Ford. "Civil War Journalism - Ford Risley." ABC-CLIO - Product - Civil War Journalism - Ford Risley. N.p., Sept. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?isbn=9780313347276>.
July the 14th, 1861
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure - and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows - when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children - is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?
I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of th
This demand for information continued after the war and pushed more newspapers to broaden their categories by offering more objective reporting.
“America really became a nation of newspaper readers during the war.”
Photographs and illustrations were another portion of media that grew during the Civil War. Photographers, such as Alexander Gardner, and illustrators, such as Alfred Waud, gave the public a more visual and more graphic image of war for the readers.
The telegraph, which was used a lot by the press during the Civil War, had a long-lasting effect on journalism. Since telegraph operators charged by the word to transmit stories over the wire, reporters tried to prioritize facts and write more efficiently.
Continuing the Impact
em enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours - always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.
The Letter To Home
During the Civil War the way to talk to someone or talk about anything at all had to usually be written in letters. When men would be out to war they usually sent a letter to their loved ones back to reassure them that they were doing well. As example in this letter it shows a man writing to his loved one(s). This changed the ways people were able to communicate during these tough times.
This website has many listed primary documents, such as newspapers and periodicals. These will give you primary information on events that happened daily during the Civil War. Considering this information is from reporters it should be true and factual.
Thank you for watching and reading!