Why did the World and the Journal of Commerce print the proclamation?

Posted: January 5th, 2023

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Answer in about 100 words ( I know it says 275 but anything over a 100 will work!). Cite the First Amendment and the SPJ ethics code in your answer. You may also cite any legal cases relating to the issue.
EXPLORE THE DEBATE
Can First Amendment freedoms of speech and the press be limited during a time of civil war?
THE CASE
The United States has been fighting a bloody civil war for three years. The Confederacy is attempting to break away from President Abraham Lincoln and the Union. In the North, people are divided over whether the war is justified and worth fighting. Many Northern Democrats sympathize with the Confederacy and want to seek peace with them. In July 1863, deadly riots break out in New York City and other Northern towns over the start of a military draft, which forces selected citizens to enlist in the military and fight in the war.
A new crisis strikes on May 18, 1864. At 3:30 a.m., a messenger pretending to be from the Associated Press news service delivers a forged presidential proclamation to a number of New York City newspapers. The proclamation calls for 400,000 more troops through either voluntary enlistment or a new draft. It makes the Union Army seem desperate. Most papers check on the validity of the proclamation and don’t print it. But two newspapers, the World and the Journal of Commerce, print the fake proclamation in their morning editions. Both of these newspapers have a history of criticizing the Lincoln administration and were blamed by Republicans (Lincoln’s party) for starting the 1863 Draft Riots by publishing anti-war editorials.
Government and military officials are alarmed by this fake proclamation, fearing it could provoke unrest. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton orders an Army general to shut down both newspapers and arrest their editors. President Lincoln signs off on the action.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Why did the World and the Journal of Commerce print the proclamation? Do you think it was on purpose or an accident?
What type of problems did the government and army officials think the proclamation might cause? Why?
Beyond closing down these two newspapers, what effects might Lincoln’s order have on public opinion and support for the war?
What is the difference between printing criticism of the president and anti-war editorials and printing a fake presidential proclamation? Should both be protected by the First Amendment?
DEBATE POSITIONS
1. President Abraham Lincoln
Position: Freedom of press is important, but the Constitution allows for the president to restrict our rights during a time of rebellion whenever their exercise endangers the Union and the war effort.
“Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier-boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair on the head of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? I think that in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal a great mercy.” (The Truth from an Honest Man, 1863)

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