Newspaper Writers Whipping Each Other in the Street? Just Another Day for the Media in Lincoln's Time
"He who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions." - Abraham Lincoln, August 21, 1858
Many journalists today may think they are dedicated to the profession and pursuit of their craft, but any would be hard pressed to top the stick to-it-tiveness of Elijah Lovejoy.
The unabashedly Abolitionist publisher twice had his entire newspaper operation and offices destroyed and sacked by angry mobs. When he moved his business across the river to another state with purportedly more liberal leanings in 1837, another mob formed. They then set the offices on fire, shoved the printing press out the window into a river, and then killed Lovejoy with a shotgun blast to the chest.
The culture of journalism and the wild ride news of the times - and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln - is the subject of Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer's exhaustive history Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion (768 pp., $37.50, Simon & Schuster).