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True Democrat bulletin. : (Little Rock [Ark.) 1862-186?
Place of publication:
Little Rock [Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
R.S. Yerkes & Co.]
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1862.
  • English
  • Arkansas--Little Rock.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206922
  • Little Rock (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Sept. 29, 1862.
sn 89051467
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True Democrat bulletin. September 29, 1862 , Image 1


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The True Democrat, Arkansas True Democrat, True Democrat Bulletin, and True Democrat

The True Democrat (1852-7) was first printed on September 7, 1852, in Little Rock, Arkansas by owners and publishers Richard Henry Johnson and Reuben S. Yerkes, with Johnson serving as editor. Its preceding title, the Arkansas Democratic Banner (1851-2), was changed to the True Democrat for political reasons. The new publishers described the reason for the name change as "renewed assurances of fidelity to the noble principles of our party... we unfurl to our patrons and the public--'THE TRUE DEMOCRAT.'" The True Democrat and its successors--Arkansas True Democrat (1857-62) and True Democrat (1862-3)--were published as weeklies. Daily editions were published for a short time, including the Daily True Democrat (1861) and the True Democrat Bulletin (1862-?), but these editions ended due to financial constraints and lack of support.

Like most antebellum newspapers in Little Rock, the True Democrat focused on politics. It supported the Democratic Party, and during the 1860 elections supported former editor Johnson for Governor and John Cabell Breckinridge for President. Both candidates lost, and Johnson returned to his position as editor after the elections. When political events escalated into the Civil War, Arkansas officially seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, to join the Confederate States of America. In early 1862, Johnson published relatively up-to-date information on the war by coordinating with and receiving reports from soldiers in various Arkansas regiments. This arrangement ended when military officials ordered soldiers to cease disclosing military activities. Johnson reported that "our military leaders wisely keep their own counsels, and we content ourself [sic] with chronicling the result when it happens, instead of the intentions which may be lost by a premature disclosure."

Throughout the Civil War, newspapers in Arkansas struggled to overcome shortages of personnel and paper. On April 3, 1862, Johnson calculated that "by issuing on a half-sheet we will have paper enough for twelve months." For the True Democrat, the paper shortage was compounded by financial difficulties caused by the high number of delinquent subscribers. In July 1863, the number of True Democrat readers was estimated at 20,000 with only 10,000 subscribers. The publishers attempted to save the newspaper by using a paper supplier in Georgia, but this plan failed when shipments could no longer cross the Mississippi River due to the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. The True Democrat ran out of paper, and on July 8, 1863, the True Democrat published its last issue on wrapping paper. The newspaper did not resume after the war.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives