The Guardian has been accused of hypocrisy for backing the Black Lives Matter protests despite branding Abraham Lincoln (pictured) ‘abhorrent’ during the US Civil War
A petition has been launched to ‘shut down’ The Guardian newspaper over accusations of hypocrisy for backing Black Lives Matter protests, despite branding Abraham Lincoln ‘abhorrent’ during the US Civil War.
The paper, which was originally called the Manchester Guardian, was founded by John Edward Taylor in 1821 using profits from a cotton plantation that used slaves.
During the United States’ Civil War 40 years later, it sided with the southern Confederates against President Lincoln, who wanted slavery abolished.
One extract from the paper on October 10, 1862, read: ‘It was an evil day both for America and the world when he was chosen President of the United States.’
A year later it even opposed the Proclamation of Emancipation – which freed slaves – and described the President’s time in office after his assassination as ‘abhorrent’.
But in recent editorials the paper has tried to mask its past, with headlines such as ‘The Guardian view on Colston’s statue: a long time in going’ and ‘The Guardian view on Black Lives Matter worldwide: a common cause’.
Many are baying for statues linked to slavery to be torn down and some have suggested the Guardian should also fall for being on the wrong side of history.
A petition has even been launched now online to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to ‘shut down the newspaper’.
Novelist and journalist Tony Parsons, who organised the petition, tweeted: ‘Shameful links to slave-owning Confederate south. Built on the profits of cotton fields. Shut down The Guardian Newspaper.’
The newspaper, which was then called the Manchester Guardian, sided with the Confederates during the US Civil War (pictured, the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in 1864) against the President, who wanted slavery abolished
Mail On Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens added on Twitter: ‘I do think this (beautifully honest) confession of the SuperWoke Guardian’s support for the slave-owning Confederacy (and its furious loathing for Lincoln) in the American Civil War is one of the great discoveries of the day. ”Who shall ‘scape whipping?”’
And freelance journalist Kate Mulvery put: ‘Maybe the Guardian should topple – given that its founder made a fortune in the cotton trade – went on the side of the confederates during the American Civil War – oh and denounced Lincoln for freeing slaves.’
Several supporters of the petition have also called out The Guardian’s ‘hypocrisy’ on the editorial stance.
The newspaper was founded by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor in 1819, with his nephew CP Scott going on to become its most celebrated editor.
Taylor’s industry thrived on the backs of cotton-picking slaves out of sight and mind in the Americas, and the paper continued its relationship with it after his death in 1844.
The Guardian maintained its relationship with cotton merchant advertisers and even railed against factory workers who refused to touch material picked by US slaves, according to Guido.
The newspaper (pictured, its London office) was founded by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor in 1819, with his nephew CP Scott going on to become its most celebrated editor
During the US Civil War – which lasted from 1861 to 1865 – the newspaper’s onslaught against President Lincoln was ramped up.
On January 2, 1863, it accused Lincoln of having ‘no desire to abolish slavery except as a means of extrication from the difficulties of government’.
A year and a half later, on November 22, 1864, it claimed: ‘Nor is Mr Lincoln’s re-election by fraud, violence, and intimidation rendered a matter of comparatively small importance solely by the fact that it reveals nothing with respect to the real wishes and thoughts of the majority of his fellow countrymen.’
And upon hearing Lincoln had been murdered, the newspaper published on April 27, 1865: ‘Of his rule we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty.’
In his biography of the Manchester Guardian, David Ayerst noted: ‘The Guardian was indeed convinced that the majority of Northerners, so far from having any antipathy to slavery, considered it to be the natural condition of the N**** and were content to profit by it.’
The newspaper has been forced to address its historical choices in recent years, with associate editor and columnist Martin Kettle putting his name to a piece in 2011.
The article’s sub-heading uses a phrase strikingly familiar to today, saying: ‘The Guardian’s stance on the US civil war was of its era.’
The piece goes on to defend the thundering editorial that branded Lincoln ‘abhorrent’ less than a month after his grisly assassination.
Mr Kettle said the article ‘was of its era’, writing about ‘immensely difficult issues’ ‘which are as irresolvable and hard to balance today as they were 150 years ago’.
He added: ‘He was not to know that later generations would have a different set of priorities.’
This argument that things were different 155 years ago, so should not be judged by today’s standards, echoes calls this week from those wanting statues to people linked to slavery to remain in place.
It seems at odds with the Guardian’s stance on the recent protests, which saw Colston’s statue ripped from its plinth and dumped in the river Avon in Bristol.
Many are baying for statues linked to slavery to be torn down (pictured, Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol on Sunday) and some have suggested the Guardian should also fall for being on the wrong side of history
The newspaper described this as ‘a long time in going’ and seems to miss its own point that during Colston’s days standards were different.
Many in the public have called for the newspaper to face up to its historical decisions, particularly surrounding the US Civil War.
One person wrote: ‘The Guardian, established by a cotton plantation owner using slave labour and being on the side of the Confederates against the abolition of Slavery is still here. Funny old world.’
Another posted: ‘Same with the guardian for supporting the southern confederates in the civil war and building their brand from it.’
A Twitter user posted: ‘Can you please show us how you supported the Confederates and how you called Lincoln an abhorant little man, for freeing the slaves.’
And another added: ‘Since we’re going back into the past let us not forget that the Guardian newspaper profited from the slave trade, supported the Confederates in the US Civil War, hated President Lincoln and were against the Proclamation of Emancipation!’
The Guardian has also updated its financial contributions request at the bottom of every article in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, adding the paper have covered injustice against ethnic minority communities ‘for decades’.
It reads: ‘As the world protests … against police violence and racism, the Guardian stands in solidarity with the struggle for truth, humanity and justice.
For decades, we have reported on the brutality that has destroyed the lives of black and minority ethnic citizens around the world. Justice starts with uncovering the truth. That is what we try to do.’