Date

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

LeMaster, Michelle

Other advisers/committee members

Bulman, William J.

Abstract

This thesis explores how colonial Pennsylvanian politicians and paper editors developed a politicized way of using colonial newspapers to achieve their political goals. It historicizes this process by demonstrating how the political culture of eighteenth-century Philadelphia shaped and limited the possible strategies politicians had for gaining and maintaining their political offices. At the colonial assembly level, it argues that campaign rhetoric that focused on adversarial politics increased over the eighteenth century, even though it remained cloaked in a language of republicanism and the public good. At the local level, active campaigning began to appear in the 1740s and increased throughout the remainder of the century. The study ends following the debates around Pennsylvania’s Constitution of 1776 as political articles in the newspapers shifted from urging politicians to focus on the public good to calling for politicians to protect the local interests of their constituents.

Available for download on Tuesday, January 04, 2022

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