James Shepherd Pike

James Shepherd Pike (September 8, 1811 November 29, 1882) was an American journalist and a historian of South Carolina during the Reconstruction Era

. . . James Shepherd Pike . . .

Pike was born in Calais, Maine and was a journalist in the United States during the mid 19th century. From 1850-1860 he was the chief Washington correspondent and associate editor of the New York Tribune. The Tribune was the chief source of news and commentary for many Republican newspapers across the country. Republican editors reprinted his dispatches prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. In 1854 he led the fight against the Kansas-Nebraska Act, calling for the formation of a new political entity to oppose it. Pike wrote that a “solid phalanx of aggression rears its black head everywhere south of Mason and Dixon’s line, banded for the propagation of Slavery all over the continent.”[1] His reports were, “widely quoted, bitterly attacked or enthusiastically praised; they exerted a profound influence upon public opinion and gave to their author national prominence, first as an uncompromising anti-slavery Whig, and later as an ardent Republican.”[2]

President Abraham Lincoln appointed Pike to be minister to the Netherlands, where he fought Confederate diplomatic efforts and promoted the Union war aims from 1861 to 1866.[3] On returning to Washington in 1866, Pike resumed writing for the New York Tribune and also wrote editorials for the New York Sun.

Pike was an outspoken Radical Republican, standing with Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner and opposing President Andrew Johnson. Long before black suffrage became a major issue Pike had come to believe that the freed slaves must be given the vote. Pike in 1866-67 strongly supported Black suffrage and the disqualification of most ex-Confederates from holding office.[4]

Pike did not admire Ulysses S. Grant as a politician, and drifted away from the Republican party. By 1872 Pike was disenchanted with Black suffrage and the corruption and failures of Reconstruction. He argued the federal government should withdraw its soldiers from the Southern states.[5] He was a strong supporter of the Liberal Republican movement that in 1872 opposed President Ulysses Grant, denouncing the corruption of his administration.[6] Pike’s boss, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, was the Liberal Republican nominee in 1872. Greeley lost to Grant by a landslide, then died. The new editor of the TribuneWhitelaw Reid sent Pike to South Carolina to study the conditions in the deep South under Reconstruction.[7]

. . . James Shepherd Pike . . .

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. . . James Shepherd Pike . . .