An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840

An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840

An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840

An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840

Synopsis

Volume Two of A History of the Book in America documents the development of a distinctive culture of print in the new American republic.



Between 1790 and 1840 printing and publishing expanded, and literate publics provided a ready market for novels, almanacs, newspapers, tracts, and periodicals. Government, business, and reform drove the dissemination of print. Through laws and subsidies, state and federal authorities promoted an informed citizenry. Entrepreneurs responded to rising demand by investing in new technologies and altering the conduct of publishing. Voluntary societies launched libraries, lyceums, and schools, and relied on print to spread religion, redeem morals, and advance benevolent goals. Out of all this ferment emerged new and diverse communities of citizens linked together in a decentralized print culture where citizenship meant literacy and print meant power. Yet in a diverse and far-flung nation, regional differences persisted, and older forms of oral and handwritten communication offered alternatives to print. The early republic was a world of mixed media.
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