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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/206

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vince rather than to inform the public, and the journalism of that period made no substantial progress except as an instrument for the development and exploitation of writers of force and influence. Whatever power the press exerted in shaping events, PSM V56 D0206 From the new york evening post 1801.pngFrom The New York Evening Post of November 16, 1801. whatever it accomplished in swaying the public mind in the days when nullification was scotched and territorial expansion was accepted as a fixed policy of the majority, should be credited to the genius and individuality of the leading writers of that time, rather than to a full presentation of facts. The years of agitation of the question of slavery still further developed individuality in journalism. The newspaper became an instrument for educating the people on certain public questions, and an influence upon public opinion by means of editorial writing. That was the period of so-called great editors, of whom Horace Greeley may be mentioned as a conspicuous example, who made and unmade politicians with their praise or criticism, who shaped the policy of political parties, controlled conventions and nominated candidates, changed the current of their country's history at critical points, and in many ways wielded an influence in public affairs greater than that of the leading statesmen. The editor of that time was greater than his newspaper, and the power