The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865

Browse Items (15 total)

  • Tags: Broadside

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In colonial America the surest way for a printer to achieve financial stability was to secure government contracts for printing the laws and other official documents. Usually, the government printer also ran his newspaper as a kind of sycophantic…

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Public executions had long been popular news events in Europe, and they fit well into the news environment of Puritan New England. They were sensational, which appealed to the voyeurism of audiences, but they were also morally instructive, which…

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The most formal medium of news dissemination in colonial New England was the government proclamation, issued by the governor or other high official and printed elegantly in broadside form. Proclamations often announced special days of thanksgiving…

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In colonial America, newspapers were delivered to their readers in a variety of ways. In the cities, customers often picked up their papers at the printing office. In the countryside, post riders delivered newspapers. Having free access to the postal…

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Charles Carleton Coffin (1823-96) was one of a dozen or so battlefield correspondents whose work during the Civil War made them into something new in American journalism: celebrity reporters. Writing under the penname “Carleton” for the…

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This broadside announcing the Treaty of Paris was published by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) in Worcester, Massachusetts. The subtitle—”Sure and Certain”—immediately tries to dispel any worries about the treaty being a rumor. But…

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One genre of news broadside in colonial America, quite different in quality from the elegantly printed government proclamation, was the confession or “last speech” of a condemned criminal. These were typically small sheets, printed…

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On November 10, 1860, after a decade of political division and just four days after Lincoln’s election, South Carolina called a secession convention for the following month. Considered by virtue of timing to be the first Confederate imprint,…

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As they had been in the pre-war years, broadsides continued to be a way to spread and provide commentary on the news. This broadside features two poems about the surrender of Yorktown. The first is “A Poem Spoken Extempore, by a Young Lady, on…

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This broadside, printed in Boston in April 1773, contains the text of a letter from the Virginia House of Burgesses informing Boston of the creation of a standing Committee of Correspondence and assuring the New Englanders of Virginia’s…
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