Name:  James Watson Webb

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Born:  February 8, 1802
Died:  June 7, 1884
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
James Watson Webb was the influential owner and editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer. He was orphaned as a boy and raised by his sister and brother-in-law in New York. As a young man he served in the U.S. Army (1819-1827). In 1827 he moved to New York City, where he bought the Morning Courier, merging it two years later with the Enquirer. He edited the Courier and Enquirer until his retirement in 1861. Early in his career, James Gordon Bennett worked as an associate editor for Webb.

Originally a Jacksonian Democrat, Webb switched to the Whig opposition during Jackson’s war on the national bank, then aligned with the new Republican party in the 1850s. An ardent backer of the Union cause, Lincoln appointed him to serve as the U.S. minister to Brazil. At that post, he helped convince Napoleon III to withdraw French troops from Mexico.

Sources consulted: James Watson Webb,” Richard Latner, “Crisis at Fort Sumter” Website,; Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History.











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