Massachusetts Historical Society


A Northern Proslavery Propagandist Confronts Secession: John Van Evrie’s Crisis of 1861


Authors: Michael E. Woods, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Comment: Donald Yacovone, Harvard University

This is an online event.

Southern secession was a disaster for American nationalists with a proslavery vision of the Union’s past and future. Few were as virulent as John Van Evrie. Born in Canada and educated as a physician, Van Evrie spent the 1850s building a publishing company that churned out a catalogue of proslavery works, including the notorious New York Day Book newspaper. But Van Evrie struggled to adjust—ideologically, politically, and financially—to disunion and war. This chapter, drawn from a book project entitled The Business of Bigotry: John Van Evrie and the Making of a Racist Media Empire, explores how Van Evrie navigated the crisis—and how opponents almost vanquished him for good.

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