Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Brod, Donald

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Freedom of the press--Louisiana--New Orleans; Press--Louisiana--New Orleans--History; New Orleans (La.)--History--Civil War; 1861-1865


On May 1, 1862, after a decisive naval tattle on the Mississippi River, General Benjamin F. Butler marched his troops into the Confederate city of New Orleans and reclaimed it for the Union. One of Butler's first acts as commander of the city was to impose a stem code of censorship over the New Orleans press. This study evaluates the degree of censorship Butler exercised over the press by studying its effect on the five general interest dailies published in New Orleans when the occupation began. All five of the dailies either received suspension warnings or were suppressed during Butler's regime. The circumstances surrounding the suppressions are examined to discover what kind of infractions prompted Butler to take action against the press. To help decide whether Butler muzzled the press with a firm hand or a light touch, six controversial incidents during the occupation are studied in terms of their local press coverage. The incidents were selected because they were especially galling to the people of the city and would have drawn fire from an uncensored press. The character of the newspapers changed during Butler's regime. They went from fiery journals leading the community through the political labyrinth of the Civil War to bland billboards dutifully chronicling the events of the day. Though Butler was a stem censor, he did not engage in wanton acts of suppression against -the Southern press. The newspapers were censored according to a logical plan designed to maintain order in a hostile city.


Includes bibliographical references.


136 pages




Northern Illinois University

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