Secession Era Editorials Project

Related Links:
The Makers:

Go to the most current version of this project

Nebraska Bill Editorials (1854)

Caning of Sumner Editorials (1856)

Dred Scott Editorials (1857)

Harper's Ferry / John Brown Editorials (1859)

Keyword Searching Tutorial

Keyword Mapping

About the Project.

Few Americans were more involved with the coming of the Civil War than the newspaper editors whose words have been collected here. Circulation-hungry and fiercely devoted to the political parties that sustained them, these writers were passionate and nearly inflexible in their views. The editorials they wrote remind us that the people of the era experienced events not with the comprehensive hindsight and revealed secrets of the historian but rather through the disconnected and opinionated fragments supplied by these journalists.

Three events (Nebraska, Dred Scott, and Harper's Ferry) were chosen for this project for their universal prominence in historical writing. A fourth incident, the attack on Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina representative Preston Brooks, was included not only because of its importance to S. C. history but also because historians are becoming increasingly aware how the Sumner incident shocked politics away from Know-Nothingism, the so-called "immigrant question," and liquor prohibition to slavery and sectionalism.

When complete the project will have at least one complete run of editorials from each major political party in each state of the Union. There will also be text search and text analysis, mapping, and statistical tools for placing the editorials into their analytical context.

Related Links

The following individuals, organizations, and sites have cooperated with or linked to this project or its Furman University: 19th Century U.S. Documents parent site:

Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (U.Va.)
Valley of the Shadow Project (U.Va.)
Causes of the Civil War (Jim Epperson, UAH)
Douglass: Archives of American Public Address (NWU)
Historical Documents of the United States of North America (U. of Kansas)
Historical Text Archive (Mississippi State)
The U.S. Civil War Center
TACTweb Text Analysis Software

Contributors and Acknowledgments

Project Development:
T. Lloyd Benson
Furman University Department of History
with Jeff Bollerman, Ben Barnhill, and Ryan Burgess

Linguistic Consultant
Melina Alexa

Transcription and Proofing
Ben Barnhill, Ryan Burgess, Jeff Bollerman, Lloyd Benson
Amber Anders, Marcus Rozbitsky, Carolyn Sims, Josh Benson

Grants and Resources
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Furman-Wofford Mellon Grant
Furman Advantage Undergraduate Research Program
Furman University Faculty Development Grant
Furman University Office of the Academic Dean

Advice, Consolation, Technical Support, Etc.
Jim Leavell, Ed Ayers, Kevin Treu, Matt Conway, Arnold Murdock, John Unsworth, Willard McCarty, Geoffrey Rockwell, John Bradley, Ken Abernethy, Hayden Porter, Cross Ganaway, Jack Lane, Drew Feight, Will Thomas, Coleen Doody
Others we're too brain-fogged to mention.