The Press of the Young Republic, 1783-1833

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

the Federalists to silence the Republican press in the debates of 1798-1800 helped to establish the idea that disagreements and differences of opinion were part of the political system that existed in the United States. The acceptance of diversity of opinion, at least to some extent, in the political arena provided the basis for an amazing growth in the press in the early nineteenth century, as the press sought to express not only diverse political thoughts, but also a variety of ideas in areas that related to all aspects of American life.


NOTES
1.
Alexander DeConde, The Quasi-War. The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France, 1797-1801 ( New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1966), 89-98; John C. Miller , The Federalist Era, 1789-1801 ( New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960), 213-17.
2.
Esmond Wright, Fabric of Freedom, 1763-1860 ( New York: Hill & Wang, 1961), 226; Miller, Federalist Era, 212-13.
3.
Porcupine's Gazette ( Philadelphia), 27 June 1798.
4.
New York Gazette ( New York), 12 April 1798.
5.
Gazette of the United States ( Philadelphia), 7 July 1798.
6.
Although severely criticized by the Republicans in Congress, the Sedition Act was relatively mild for legislation of this type in this era. In 1795, in the midst of the war with France, Great Britain adopted the Treasonable Practices Act. Under its provisions, Parliament extended treason to include any criticism, written or spoken, of the King, the government, or the constitution. Possible punishments included seven years'transportation for the second offense. This legislation, much stronger than the American Sedition Act of 1798, gave legitimacy to a policy of suppression of political dissidents, which had been adopted in 1794. The centerpiece of the policy was the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The British feared that the entire social order was threatened by events in France and the possible repercussions; thus, they adopted some of the most restrictive legislation possible to deal with the perceived menace. John B. Owen, The Eighteenth Century, 1714-1815 ( London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1974), 261; Ian R. Christie, Wars and Revolutions: Britain, 1760-1815 ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 228-29.
7.
Aurora ( Philadelphia), 29 June 1798.
8.
Ibid., 3 July 1798.
9.
Annals of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, 5th Congress, 2nd Session ( Washington, D.C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 8:2164.
10.
Ibid., 8:2164. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Gallatin immigrated to the United States in 1780. He served in Congress during most of the 1790s, becoming a leading member of the Republican Party as it developed. After Jefferson's inauguration, Gallatin served as secretary of the treasury. In later years, he served as a diplomatic representative for the United States to several European countries.
11.
Ibid., 8:2108-10.
12.
Porcupine's Gazette, 12 March 1798.
13.
James Morton Smith, Freedom's Fetters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties ( Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1956), 188-93.
14.
Ibid., 193-200.
15.
Aurora, 27 June 1798.
16.
Smith, Freedom's Fetters, 204-11.

-68-

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The Press of the Young Republic, 1783-1833
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also Available in the History of American Journalism ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Series Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - A New Era Begins: The Confederation, 1783-1789 1
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - The Adoption of the Bill of Rights, 1789-1791 27
  • Notes 36
  • 3 - The First Political Party System, 1791-1800 41
  • 4 - The Challenge of the Sedition Act, 1798-1800 57
  • Notes 68
  • 5 - The Age of Jefferson, 1800-1808 71
  • Notes 81
  • 6 - The War of 1812 1809-1815 85
  • Notes 95
  • 7 - The Era of Good Feelings, 1815-1824 99
  • 8 - The Age of Jackson, 1824-1833 113
  • Notes 129
  • 9 - Changes in Journalism, 1800-1833 133
  • Notes 150
  • 10 - Reflections on the Press of the Young Republic 155
  • Note 160
  • Bibliographical Essay 161
  • Sources 167
  • Index 177
  • About the Author 183
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