During the Civil War the federal government was responsible for the greatest amount ofnewspaper suppression in the nation s history. More than 300 newspapers were shut down, most ofthem Democratic papers that were sympathetic to the Confederacy. Some historians have criticized President Abraham Lincoln for allowing such widespread constraints on the press. This article reconsiders the nature ofLincoln s view ofpress freedom. Based on a letter the president sent to a Union general. it concludes that Lincoln changed his thinking about midway through the war and began to believe that suppression ofthe press was not the appropriate policy.
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