The 1869 robbery marked the emergence of Jesse James as the most famous survivor of the former Confederate bushwhackers. It was the first time he was publicly labeled an "outlaw"; Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden set a reward for his capture. This was the beginning of an alliance between James and John Newman Edwards, editor and founder of the Kansas City Times. Edwards, a former Confederate cavalryman, was campaigning to return former secessionists to power in Missouri. Six months after the Gallatin robbery, Edwards published the first of many letters from Jesse James to the public, asserting his innocence. Over time, the letters gradually became more political in tone, as James denounced the Republicans and expressed his pride in his Confederate loyalties. Together with Edwards's admiring editorials, the letters helped James become a symbol of Confederate defiance of federal Reconstruction policy. Jesse's initiative in creating his rising public profile is debated by historians and biographers. The high tensions in politics accompanied his outlaw career and enhanced his notoriety.
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