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French Newspaper Opinion on the American Civil War


During the American Civil War, political ideology was the most important determinant of French journalistic attitudes. Conservatives usually supported the South while Liberals usually supported the North. Provincial newspapers, however, less consistently followed ideological patterns than their Parisian and big-city colleagues. Slavery was not a determinant of French attitudes, since all French were opposed to slavery; rather, both Conservatives and Liberals used the issue of slavery as a device to garner support. While Conservatives remained firm in believing that the South would prevail until the very end, Liberal journalists sometimes despaired of a Union triumph in the face of Northern military defeats.