The Press of the Young Republic, 1783-1833

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

present pleasing reverse of affairs must yield delight to every beholder. . . . May the national blessings resulting from this political revolution, continue, and continually expand, from generation to generation, till the last shock of Time buries the Empires of the world in one undistinguished ruin. 140

With the inauguration of the new government in 1789, Boston's Herald of Freedom painted a glorious picture of what the future held for America:

Trade and commerce now raise their drooping heads, the Mechanick brandishes the tool of industry in triumph, and the husbandman repairs to the field with vigour; justice, from her sacred seat, views with pleasure the once benighted prospect, now dawning into brightness resplendent as nature's purest light; while publick faith and honour gladden at the thought of our reviving credit. May America never cease to pay the tribute of gratitude she owes to the bountiful Parent of the Universe; may her citizens prove themselves worthy to enjoy the blessings heaped upon them: and may our country increase in splendour and glory 'till the "course of nature changes, and the sun shall have finished its last diurnal rotation round the skies:" 141

Most American newspaper printers would have agreed. With the new form of government, the United States now stood ready to take its rightful place in the world, and the newspapers of the young government stood prepared to help guide and record the march into a glorious future.


NOTES
1.
Pennsylvania Gazette ( Philadelphia), 3 December 1783.
2.
Isaiah Thomas had learned the printing business in Boston from Zachariah Fowle. He established the Massachusetts Spy in Boston in 1770 and moved it to Worcester following the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. An important Revolutionary printer, Thomas also earned a place in journalism history by authoring the History of Printing in America in 1810 and founding the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in 1812. The nucleus of the early newspaper collection of the AAS came from Thomas's personal collection of newspapers published prior to 1810. The only book-length study of Thomas is Clifford K. Shipton, Isaiah Thomas: Printer, Patriot, and Philanthropist, 1749-1831 ( Rochester, N.Y.: Printing House of Leo Hart, 1948).
3.
Although Benjamin Russell was an important printer and newspaper publisher throughout his career, no detailed biographical studies of his life have been produced.
4.
Numbers for 1783 are based on Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, 2 vols. ( Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1947); numbers for 1790, from Alfred McClung Lee, The Daily Newspaper in America ( New York: Macmillan, 1937), 711.
5.
See, for example, Providence (R.I.) Gazette, 24 February, 10 and 24 March, 7 July 1781.
6.
John Bard McNulty, Older Than the Nation: The Story of the Hartford Courant ( Stonington, Conn.: Pequot Press, 1964), 27; Exchange Advertiser ( Boston), 2 June 1785; Independent Chronicle ( Boston), 15 February 1787; New Hampshire Spy ( Portsmouth), 3

-18-

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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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