“Game of Duplicity” Analyzing American Southern Slaveholder Newspaper Reactions to The Indian Mutiny of 1857

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Sophia Toffolo Dooly


During the Antebellum Period in America, American slaveowners were in deep conflicts with Northern American and British abolitionists over the debated morality of slavery. However when the infamous "Indian Mutiny" flared in East India Company-controlled India, unexpected sympathy for the Indian rebels was raised in several slaveowner-run newspapers such as The Mississippian and State Gazette, and The Abbeville Banner. Antebellum Southern society had many similarities with the British expiate community in India at the time, especially in their treatment of their so-called "inferiors" in the form of African-American Slaves or Native Indians.  So why would pro-slavery newspapers support Indian rebels, who would later in the Southerners' eyes become associated with feared slave uprisers shortly before and during the Civil War? This essay compares three newspaper articles from The Mississippian and State GazetteThe Abbeville Banner and The Daily Dispatch in order to analyze the political motivations behind these 'sympathetic opinions' towards the rebels, the events and people mentioned in these articles to back Southern claims against 'hypocritical' British Imperialism, and also looks at a Times article that is heavily quoted by The Abbeville Banner and reworded to suit slaveowner agendas.

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