The newspaper and the development of American culture, 1704-1754.
Riefe, Robert Harold
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Beginning with the publication of the Boston News Letter in 1704, as the first continuous newspaper in British America, the public prints developed apace. By 1754 nearly half a hundred different newspapers had gone to press in the colonial centers of the Western Hemisphere. Accompanying the rise of newspaper publication as an inviting business venture was the rapid development of the economic, political, and cultural relations among the several British colonies, at a tempo undreamt of by the less opulent inhabitants of the seventeenth century. Significantly, the most influential and long-lived prints were published in the burgeoning urban centers of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Williamsburg, and Charles Town, where there existed the greatest promise of sufficient rewards for the gathering and dissemination of news. The rise and swift growth of the public press was largely a result of the expanding intercolonial civilization, which threatened by mid-century to obliterate the narrow provincial boundaries of an earlier era. Perhaps the most important factor facilitating the enlargement of journalistic opportunities was the accumulation of surplus capital. Certainly a substantial amount of money was needed to assure a publisher of a successful venture into the field of the newspaper, especially since the cost of erecting and maintaining a physical plant was not insignificant. Moreover, it was early learned that the paid advertisement, which was itself a concomitant of surplus capital, represented the chief source of income to the publisher of an eighteenth century newspaper. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University