Wartime newspapers played a critical role in highlighting opposition on the Northern home front by publicizing the position of antiwar Democrats, headlining the Copperhead press’s opposition to the Lincoln administration, and exposing the disloyal acts of everyday civilians. Scholars have focused on the disloyal behavior of people who identified with the former two entities but have paid virtually no attention to how the popular press helped Americans understand loyal and disloyal behavior on an individual level during wartime. The press performed a “watchdog” function as journalists paid particular attention to men who took advantage of military mobilization to defraud the US government. Ultimately, newspaper coverage of Old Capitol Prison and of the transgressions that its prisoners committed reveals that the popular press shaped notions of treason and disloyalty, and molded how Americans interpreted civil liberties during wartime.


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pp. 319-343
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