Harold Holzer talks about his new book, “Lincoln and the Power of the Press,” which examines how the president used the press to shape public opinion.
The program coincides with opening weekend of the Newseum’s newest exhibit, “President Lincoln is Dead: The New York Herald Reports the Assassination.”
From his earliest days, Lincoln devoured newspapers. Throughout his career, he used newspapers to speak directly to the public through editorials and letters. He bought a German-language newspaper to appeal to that growing electorate in his state and pampered, battled and manipulated the three most powerful publishers of the day: Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, James Gordon Bennett of The New York Herald, and Henry Raymond of The New York Times.
When the Civil War broke out, President Lincoln authorized the most widespread censorship in the nation’s history, closing down papers that were “disloyal.”
Holzer is a leading authority on Lincoln and the Civil War and is chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and a Roger Hertog Fellow at the New-York Historical Society. He earned a second-place Lincoln Prize for his book, “Lincoln at Cooper Union,” in 2005, and in 2008 was awarded the National Humanities Medal.
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