Propaganda was used before and during the American Civil War by the North and the South to change public opinion. It affected the way people saw each other and the two sides of the story regarding the war. This is because it made the other side seem wrong and evil in comparison to the other side.
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This propaganda made the side that introduced the propaganda seem right and better for the person that saw it. Propaganda was used in many ways by both sides to change people’s thoughts and opinions on the war. The methods took many forms that included posters, newspapers, and even postage stamps. It caused people to take a side and cause even more division between an already divided country.
Propaganda took many forms throughout the war that included posters, pamphlets, newspapers, clothing, and postage stamps. In an effort to make the postal rates cheaper and the invention of folding machine envelopes started to be used. It didn’t take long for printers to use these envelopes as propaganda. They would print pictures and messages to support their side of the conflict and tell their version of the story. A Cincinnati printer was even arrested for printing and distributing envelopes with the likeness of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
In the North and the South political rallies were organized where representatives for their side would speak in front of large crowds trying to gain the support of their preferred side. The Propaganda in the country increased as the war progressed because each side wanted to bring the war to a quick end politically and militarily. In late 1861 Abraham Lincoln sent representatives on an assignment to spread propaganda throughout Europe.
He knew the Confederacy was trying to get support from France, Spain, and England. President Lincoln sent representatives to try to dissuade European countries from helping the Confederacy. Lincoln sent these representatives to persuade clergy and newspapermen. They made efforts to get the Europeans to understand the “true meaning of the Civil War”. The Confederacy also made an effort to change the European opinion of the war. They hired writers in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and books. Their efforts were to sway the opinions of the British Members of Parliament, The Southern propaganda concentrated on selling the South as a great trade partner, The vast amounts of land, fertile farmland, rivers, minerals, and climate was emphasized as a good market for British goods. They also promoted the trade of cotton to British Factories. They rarely talked about slavery, but made the argument that the Union Naval Blockade was hurting Europe as well as the South.
The Propaganda in the country ramped up as the war progressed with each side wanting to bring the war to a quick end politically and militarily.
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