The first week of January, 1863 newspapers across the country printed the single most important act of Lincoln’s presidency, the Emancipation Proclamation. The President summed up the Proclamation’s importance in 1864: “no human power can subdue this rebellion without using the Emancipation lever as I have done.”
Confederates and their sympathizers in the north disagreed. The editors of the New York Journal of Commerce—which had begun as an abolitionist newspaper but under new ownership during the war became a notorious Copperhead organ—described Lincoln’s bold move as “a farce coming in after a long tragedy. . . . most of the people regard it as a very foolish piece of business.”
See this rare newspaper, published 150 years ago today . . .