“ Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” –August 21, 1858, Lincoln-Douglas debate at Ottawa
In 1864 the North witnessed a presidential election race that was a mixture of purpose, patriotism, weariness, and strife. The candidates, both Republican and Democrat, were charged with the daunting task of balancing patriotism with political maneuvering and competition, each believing they were the individual to sew the tear that the Civil War wrought. Although small town Iowa and newspapers such as the Republican Cedar Valley Times and the War Democratic Muscatine Courier were hundreds of miles from the main center of political power, each reported extensively on the 1864 campaign. Wielding their newspapers as a political sword, the editors used their words to shape public sentiment and promote their party beliefs. Each newspaper and editor believed they had the solution to the problems associated with the Civil War, and in turn offered a uniquely Iowa perspective on the 1864 presidential election race.
Dani Topping, ’06 Cedar Rapids, IA
Majors: Secondary Education, History
Sponsor: M. Philip Lucas