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

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In New England, even in the age of newspapers, which began modestly in 1704 with the launch of the Boston News-Letter, the sermon remained a vital public communication medium for the discussion of news. Though most sermons, especially Sunday sermons,…

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The oldest of the five newspapers in Boston in 1737 was the Boston Weekly News-Letter. Founded in 1704, it was also the oldest newspaper in America. The proprietor of the News-Letter after 1732 was John Draper (d. 1762), who, like most newspaper…

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The New England Weekly Journal was founded in 1727 as a literary paper, along the lines of the Spectator in London and New England Courant in Boston, the newspaper that launched the career of Benjamin Franklin. But the Weekly Journal was more aligned…

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John Burt (1716-75) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College in 1736. At the time he kept his diary, he was reading theology with a local minister in Boston. He later accepted a call to the pulpit in Bristol, Rhode Island, and spent his…

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From 1716 until his death in 1743, William Cooper (1694-1743) was Benjamin Colman’s colleague in ministry at Boston’s Brattle Street Church. Like Colman and like Thomas Prince at Old South Church, Cooper frequently preached on current…

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Almanacs, diaries, and newspapers shared a basic structure. Each organized events by the calendar: by day, by week, by month, by year. Each was a kind of annals or chronology, and in New England there was an underlying belief that chronology, whether…

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Thomas Prince (1687-1758), born in Sandwich, Massachusetts, was a leading public figure in Boston as senior minister of Old South Church from 1718 until his death. During that forty-year career, Prince was an avid news consumer as well as an…
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