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Josephus Daniels, 1862-1948

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Josephus Daniels, 1862-1948

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Josephus Daniels (1862-1848) was the influential editor of the Raleigh News and Observer during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He used his newspaper to promote the political agenda of the Democratic Party and thereby helped the Democrats to regain control of the North Carolina state government from the allied Republican and Populist Parties in 1898. Once in office the Democrats, with Daniels’s support, began to revoke many of the gains African Americans made during Reconstruction including the right to vote with the passage of the Suffrage Amendment in 1900.

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Erin Glant

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Josephus Daniels (1862-1848) was the influential editor of the Raleigh News and Observer during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He used his newspaper, which he purchased in 1894, to promote the political agenda of the Democratic Party and thereby helped the Democrats to regain control of the North Carolina state government from the allied Republican and Populist Parties. As Daniels’s paper was read by many North Carolinians (it claimed to have the largest circulation in the state), it served as an important mouthpiece for the Democrats during the campaign. (UNC-CH Libraries) In an effort to solidify a base of support, Democrats ran on a white supremacist platform which called on all whites to unite in order to save the state from “negro domination.” As a part of this strategy, Daniels ran a number of editorials and political cartoons that mocked Republican and Populist leaders (as well as their supporters) and highlighted the “dangers” posed by allowing African-Americans to participate in the government. This strategy, in combination with widespread intimidation, proved to be a successful one. In 1898, the Democrats regained control of the state. (Graham 2005; UNC-CH Libraries; Perman 2001, 157-162) Once in office the Democrats, with Daniels’s support, continued their campaign of white supremacy and began to revoke many of the gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction, including the right to vote. Daniels was once again instrumental to the Democratic Party’s plans, as he successfully used his paper to help lobby for the ratification of the Suffrage Amendment in 1900. (Justesen 2000, 6, 16, 21, 24-27, 33) In addition, the editor, who was a member of the Democratic National Committee, actually went to Washington in order to discuss the issue of disfranchisement with the representatives of states that had already adopted disfranchisement policies. Upon his return, he gave a speech announcing that the party, which had promised not to restrict voting rights, would now be changing its course. (Perman 2001, 154, 162-163) Daniels remained supportive of the Democratic Party throughout his life and, serving as Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson and as Ambassador to Mexico for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (National Park Service) When Daniels died at the age of 85, his son, Jonathan, took over the News and Observer. (UNC-CH Libraries)

Bibliography

Graham, Nicholas. "The Election of 1898 in North Carolina: An Introduction." The North Carolina Election of 1898. The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/1898/history.html (Accessed April 11, 2012).

Justesen, Benjamin R. "George Henry White, Josephus Daniels, and the Showdown over Disfranchisement, 1900." North Carolina Historical Review 77, no. 1 (Jan. 2000): 1-33.

National Parks Service. "Josephus Daniels House." Raleigh: A Capital City, a National Registry of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/raleigh/dan.htm (Accessed April 11, 2012).

Perman, Michael. "Defeating Fusion II: North Carolina, 1898-1900." In Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1889-1908. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

 The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."Josephus Daniels (1862-1948)." The North Carolina Election of 1898. http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/1898/bios/daniels.html (Accessed April 11, 2012).

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Josephus Daniels

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Erin Glant, Josephus Daniels, 1862-1948, Civil War Era NC, accessed March 29, 2020, https://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/213.