Medill, Joseph

Medill, Joseph

(mədĭl`), 1823–99, American journalist, b. near St. John, N.B., Canada. His family moved to a farm near Massillon, Ohio, in 1832. He was admitted to the bar in 1846, but in 1849 abandoned law and with his three brothers bought the Coshocton Whig, which he renamed the Republican. In 1851 he founded the Daily Forest City in Cleveland and later merged it with a Free-Soil paper to form the Cleveland Leader. Medill bought an interest in the Chicago Tribune in 1855, became its managing editor and business manager, and from 1874 until his death had absolute control of the paper. He was important in the formation of the Republican partyRepublican party,
American political party. Origins and Early Years

The name was first used by Thomas Jefferson's party, later called the Democratic Republican party or, simply, the Democratic party.
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 (he is credited with having suggested its name) and was a warm supporter and friend of Lincoln. In the Civil War he advocated the emancipation and arming of the slaves and during ReconstructionReconstruction,
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
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 backed the radical Republicans in Congress. He was a member of the Illinois constitutional convention of 1869, was one of the first U.S. civil service commissioners (1871), and was elected (1871) mayor of Chicago. Medill's two daughters and their children went on to found a newspaper dynasty that included the Washington Times-Herald, Newsday, and New York's Daily News.

Bibliography

See J. Tebbel, An American Dynasty (1947), and M. McKinney, The Magnificent Medills (2001); P. Kinsley, The Chicago Tribune (3 vol., 1943–46).

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Medill, Joseph

(1823–99) publisher, editor; born in New Brunswick, Canada. Raised mainly in Ohio and partially self-taught, he became a lawyer, bought and ran two papers, and in 1855 acquired part interest in the Chicago Tribune, with which he was associated as owner and editor for most of his later years. He built it into a highly professional, influential, and successful paper, though markedly illiberal (one infamous editorial advocated administering arsenic to derelicts and the unemployed). He also served in public life, notably as mayor of Chicago in the early 1870s.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.