Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the racial ideologies of four newspapers in New Orleans at the beginning and end of Radical Reconstruction: the Daily Picayune, the New Orleans Republican, the New Orleans Tribune, and the Weekly Louisianian. It explores how each paper understood the issues of racial equality, integration, suffrage, and black humanity; it examines the specific language and rhetoric each paper used to advocate for their positions; and it asks how those positions changed from the beginning to the end of Reconstruction. The study finds that the two white-owned papers, the Picayune and the Republican, while political opponents, both viewed racial equality as primarily a political consideration that could be either advocated for or cautioned against depending on circumstance. On the other hand, the black-owned papers, the Tribune and the Louisianian, understood race as the essential issue of Reconstruction and equality for the black population as a moral imperative tied closely to fundamental American values. This contrast in rhetoric illustrates a critical divide between the black and white elements of the Republican party in Louisiana during the era, and helps explain the ultimate failure of Reconstruction’s efforts to bring racial equality to the state.

Date

8-10-2017

Committee Chair

Hamilton, John

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