Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

On May 18, 1864, President Lincoln issued an executive order commanding Major General John A. Dix to arrest and imprison the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce newspapers for printing false stories giving comfort to the enemies of the U.S. [Wikimedia Commons]

Executive Order for the "Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editors"

May 18, 1864

On May 18, 1864, President Lincoln issued an executive order commanding Major General John A. Dix to arrest and imprison the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce newspapers for printing false stories giving comfort to the enemies of the U.S.

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Major-General John A. Dix,

Commanding at New York:

Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.

A. LINCOLN.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Executive Order for the "Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editors"
  • Coverage May 18, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords Abraham Lincoln
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 11, 2021
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