The Sun's editorial-writing forebears were wrong about President Abraham Lincoln, but their errors extended far beyond the president ("The Sun and President Lincoln," April 17).
In the early 1860s, the Sun showed it was not only sympathetic to the states' rights argument that the southern states mounted to defend and spread slavery, the Sun editors and correspondents also offered views in support of the southern states' secessionist threats and action. In the days following the attack on Fort Sumter and the Pratt Street riot, the Sun's editors argued against a coming war on the basis of southern states' constitutional right to leave the union. Sun correspondents and editors viewed the northern states as unwilling to recognize the rights of the southern states and as the source of reckless belligerence encouraging a war.
Locally, the Sun reported glowingly on the organization and marching of pockets of southern armed sympathizers within the city and raised citizen fears of northern armies invading Maryland. Although Fort Sumter had been bombed and destroyed, showing the southern hostility to the union, The Sun's editors blamed President Lincoln's subsequent call for troops to defend Washington D.C. as a provocation for war.
The Sun couched its editorial comments and reporting in the framework of preserving peace and avoiding an unnecessary terrible war, but its sentiments were decidedly in support of the South, its constitutional right to practice slavery and its constitutional right to secede from the union.
Austin Barry, Eldersburg