Newspaper Analysis Worksheet: Bread Riot of March 1863
Briefly summarize what happened in March 1863 in Salisbury:
Is this article primarily factual reporting, primarily editorial opinion, or a combination of the two? Please note relevant examples of factual reporting and opinion.
Why did the women participate in the bread riot?
Is there evidence that the shopkeepers were speculating and asking prices that were unfair, given the wartime circumstances?
Does the article seem to support the women or the shopkeepers or both??
What is the writer's opinion of the Commissioners?
Do you think that this article was fair and balanced in its coverage of the riot?
Salisbury Bread Riot: Group Worksheet
Group's Assigned role (circle one):
Rioter Shopkeeper Soldier Commissioner Newspaper editor
Please consider the following questions from the point of view of your assigned role:
1. What is your group's stake in what happened in Salisbury on March 18, 1863? In other words, why would people in your position care about these events?
2. What do you think are the causes of the events that took place in Salisbury on March 18, 1863? Is anyone to blame?
3. Were the rioters justified in their actions? Should they be punished in any way?
4. What is your opinion of the war and its impact on life in Salisbury? What sacrifices should citizens be willing to make, and what kinds of sacrifices are too much to ask?
5. Write down a few ideas that might represent your group's opinion of each of the other groups.
6. Write down 2-3 questions that your group might want to ask the people in the other groups.
Homework: Letter to the Editor about the Salisbury Bread Riot of March 18, 1863
To work on this assignment you will need:
(1) Your copy of the newspaper article "A Female Raid"
(2) Learners' Guide to Reader Contributions (introductory paragraphs)
(3) Modern letters to the editor found in a newspaper or online.
From the point of view that you were assigned in your group today, write a letter to the editor of the Carolina Watchman responding to the article of March 23, 1863 about the Salisbury bread riot. Please use the Learners' Guide to Reader Contributions and modern letters to the editor to help you learn more about letters to the editor and their role in newspapers. Modern letters to the editor may provide useful models for your own letter.
In your letter, share your opinion of the bread riot and the newspaper's coverage of it. Who was at fault and who was treated wrongly? What do you think should be done about the high cost of wartime goods? What do you think should be done about the riot itself? Be sure to use specific examples and details to make your points clear and to elaborate on your unique perspective.
Please be sure to bring your copy of the newspaper article and your letter to the editor with you to class tomorrow!