Confederate draft laws exempted many different kinds of professionals, including newspaper editors and their employees. Late in the war, however, the Confederate army’s manpower shortage became so severe that President Jefferson Davis began lookingfor new ways to fill the ranks depleted by men lost to desertion, disease and death. On November 7, 1864, Davis proposed not only drafiing editors, but also asked the Confederate Congress to give him the power to determine where the editors would serve. This article examines editorial reaction to Davis’ speech, with emphasis on the freedom of speech rationales offered by the editors as reasonsfor not extending the draft to their profession.
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