25 Jun 2006

What Would Lincoln Do?

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The Republican Administration, at the present time, clearly needs to be reminded that it is the Party of Lincoln.

On August 15, 1861, a grand jury was convened in New York to investigate the conduct of a number of opposition newspapers.

The records of that grand jury state:

There are certain newspapers within this district which are in the frequent habit of encouraging the rebels now in arms against the federal government by expressing sympathy and agreement with them, the duty of acceding to their demands, and dissatisfaction with the employment of force to overcome them…

The grand jury are aware that free governments allow liberty of speech and of the press to the utmost limit, but there is, nevertheless, a limit…

The conduct of these disloyal presses is, of course condemned and abhorred by all loyal men; but the grand jury will be glad to learn from the Court that it is also subject to indictment and condign punishment.

On August 22, the newspapers named by the grand jury were suspended from the mail by order of the New York postmaster.

When their next issues were delivered to Northern cities by train, the United States marshall for the Eastern District seized all the copies, in accordance with the War Department’s General Order No. 67.

That order specified that “all correspondence and communications” which put the public safety at risk should be confiscated, and that, in future, the punishment for creating such correspondence and communications would be death.

–Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, 1951, pp.114-116.

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One Feedback on "What Would Lincoln Do?"

chrys

More than excellent post. Thanks.



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