This segment opens with
the inaugural issue of Harper’s Weekly, dated January 3, 1857. In the years before the Civil War, the illustrated national newspaper
reports extensively on the economic panic of 1857, John Brown’s raid at
Harper’s Ferry, the attempt to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable,
the Italian War for Independence, Congressman Daniel Sickles’s murder of
Philip Barton Key, visits to America by a Japanese diplomatic mission and
Edward, Prince of Wales, and the presidential election of 1860.
With the onset of the
Civil War, the journal devotes its efforts to covering the conflict with
detailed reporting, vivid illustrations, and influential commentary.
Readers follow news and views from the battlefront and intense policy
debates concerning emancipation, the draft (including the bloody draft riots),
financing the war, and civil liberties; as well as gain insight from the
journal’s cartoons, literature, and advertisements.
The segment concludes with the assassination of President Abraham
Lincoln, the end of the Civil War, the beginning of Reconstruction, and the
transition to a postwar society.