Little Bits of History

July 6

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 6, 2017

1865: The Nation’s first issue hits newsstands. The Liberator was an abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp in 1831. Published in Boston, The Liberator lasted for 35 years, with its last issue published December 29, 1865. The Nation was the successor to that earlier publication and was also founded by abolitionists after the US Civil War. It was headquartered on “newspaper row” in Manhattan, where most of New York City’s newspapers were located. It was published by Joseph Richards and the editor was Edwin Godkin who was also editor in chief of the New York Evening Post from 1883-1899. He was born in Ireland and worked as a journalist and war correspondent for a London paper before coming to American 1856.

With a classical liberal at the helm, The Nation was able to point out the aftermath of the War and what it meant to the entire nation. As one of its regular features during the first year, it ran The South As It Is, dispatches from the war-torn South written by John Dennett, a Harvard graduate and veteran of the Port Royal Experiment. Beginning in 1861, liberated slaves were given lands abandoned by planters as the Union liberated regions of Port Royal in South Carolina. The planters fled and left 10,000 slaves behind to fend for themselves and with help from the North, the industrious former slaves were able to thrive. It was successful and could have been successfully used as a model for Reconstruction. In 1865, President Andrew Johnson ended the experiment.

The Nation was also a proponent for a sound national currency after the Civil War in order to restore economic stability. They advocated for eliminating protective tariffs and free trade. Their presentation of journalism integrity garnered them high praise and many of their articles were collected into book form. Their editorial staff has remained liberal or progressive with many of the higher echelons under investigation by government officials for subversion. The magazine suffered financial setbacks in the 1940s. Mergers were discussed but avoided. In 1995, the magazine was purchased by Victor Navasky (editor at the time) and Katrina vanden Heuvel was made editor, a position she retains.

Today, The Nation remains in print and has an online presence. They remain a political, progressive, social liberal outlet and have a weekly circulation slightly over 100,000. It is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the US and is the most widely read weekly journal for the liberal or progressive aligned American. They continue to publish political and cultural news along with opinion and analysis pieces. They can be found online at The Nation. While they are predominantly concerned with American politics, the world has grown ever more connected and they also address world issues.

The liberal psyche wants to protect minorities, to apologize for imperialism, colonialism, slavery, and the appalling treatment of black people during the civil rights movement. At the same time, they want to continue to defend the rights of individuals. – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel. – Robert Frost

If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today. – Thomas Sowell

What you realize hanging out with investigative reporters is that, while they may be personally liberal, they don’t let that get in the way of a good story. – Stephen Bannon

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