The student news site of Yorktown High School

Yorktown Sentry

Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

Michael Lowen and Anna Trainum, Sentry Staff Reporters

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Abraham Lincoln was respectful of the press but also sought to exercise influence over it. Since Lincoln was the president of such a divided country during the Civil War, he faced opposition from people all over the nation. From reporters specifically in the South, Lincoln received disapproval. However, he was able to manipulate the press into reporting on events which improved his image as well as the image of the country.

Lincoln had a strong appreciation for the press, but was able to use news coverage for his own benefit. He often tried to control his image so that the public would view him as a strong leader. Although Lincoln tried to control what news sources said about him, he recognized the power of press, and eventually created his own newspaper before his presidency. When Lincoln first entered the political scene, he began to realize what needed to be done in order to secure the public’s approval. Lincoln knew that his Senate bid against Stephen Douglas would be covered heavily, so he asked the popular, incumbent Douglas to meet him for debates. Although Douglas’s home paper, the Chicago Times, would give these meetings more recognition, Lincoln decided to work with the Chicago Tribune. This way, a supporter of Lincoln, Robert R. Hitt, would be the one covering the meetings. Lincoln effectively manipulated some of the press into reporting on the parts of the meetings that highlighted him. If Lincoln answered a question poorly, Hitt would not write about the certain response. Instead, Hitt would only mention parts of the debate which helped Lincoln’s image.

As Lincoln’s popularity grew, many large newspapers started writing about him. He learned new strategies for improving his image, and although many reporters wrote in opposition of Lincoln, he continued to use the press as a way to spread a positive image. One strategy Lincoln used was to write anonymously for newspapers. By publishing articles that promoted himself and portrayed his rivals poorly, Lincoln’s popularity continued to grow.

After Lincoln became president, he continued to anonymously write for newspapers. However, the press was difficult to control, so Lincoln started to use different methods. The editor of New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett, was stubborn and rarely wrote positive articles about presidents. Lincoln made Bennett’s son a navy lieutenant, and the New York Herald immediately began releasing articles in favor of Lincoln. If Lincoln recognized certain writers who favored him, he would attempt to raise their status by hiring them for important positions in Washington, and eventually, more of the population would read their articles. Many reporters admired Lincoln, and would write articles that portrayed him as a strong and dependable leader. He knew when it was time to be confrontational and when it was time to take a step back. Lincoln was always careful about what he said and who he said it to. He was sure to speak about controversial matters only when he was in the presence of a friendly reporter.

Lincoln accomplished much as President, and ultimately was able to use the press to his benefit. Rather than criticizing or ignoring reporters, Lincoln developed strategies to ensure he received favorable coverage. Though he was calculating, Lincoln showed respect for the press, and enjoyed writing himself. The relationship between the press and politicians is a tricky game, but Lincoln was able to figure out the best way to play it.

271 total views, 2 views today

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    The Title of Teacher of the Year Sums Up Saavedra

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    From Admiral to Patriot: Moving up the Ranks

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    Girls Soccer Team Brings Home the State Championship Title

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    A Zito-less Environment

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    In Pasi We Trust

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    A Day in the Life of of Ebenezer Oware

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    A Day with Krulfeeld

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    The #Changeisreal at Yorktown

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    Child Sexual Assault

  • Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln

    Headlines

    School SoundCloud Successes

The student news site of Yorktown High School
Master of the Game: Abraham Lincoln