What effect did printed materials like newspapers, pamphlets, and books have on shaping the debate about independence? And just how big of a role did Thomas Paine’s Common Sense play in causing Americans to declare their independence from Great Britain?
In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution! series, we explore these question with four scholars of Revolutionary communication: Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt, Eric Slauter, Seth Cotlar, and Trish Loughran.
About the Series
The mission of episodes in the Doing History: To the Revolution series. is to ask not just “what is the history of the American Revolution?” but “what are the histories of the American Revolution?”
The Doing History series explores early American history and how historians work. It’s produced by the Omohundro Institute.
Be sure to check out Doing History season 1, Doing History: How Historians Work.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution! series, we explore the role the press played in fomenting and furthering the American Revolution and its ideas.
Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt, Eric Slauter, Seth Coltar, and Trish Loughran help us investigate the power of the press and communications in the American Revolution and the specific role that Thomas Paine and his pamphlet Common Sense played in causing Americans to declare their independence from Great Britain.
What You’ll Discover
- Colonial correspondence within British North America
- How colonists received news and information from around British North America
- How colonists communicated with Europe
- Role of the post office in British North America
- How imperial warfare between Great Britain and France impacted the flow of information in North America
- Pamphlets in the mid-to-late 18th century
- Why Thomas Paine chose to write pamphlets and publish in colonial newspapers
- How early Americans read pamphlets, newspapers, and other materials
- Pamphlet reprinting
- How scholars use reprinting to measure the popularity of pamphlets
- How books make revolutions
- Thomas Paine
- Why Paine emigrated to Pennsylvania
- Types of work Paine undertook upon emigrating to Philadelphia
- Why Paine entered the American political debate in late 1775
- Paine’s “common sense”
- Why Paine rejected the idea of American reconciliation with Great Britain
- The Loyalist campaign against Paine and independence
- Common Sense as the turning point of the Revolution
- Thomas Paine’s broad portrayal of the American Revolution
- Why Paine thought the colonies would unite for independence
- Paine’s dispute with his printer, Robert Bell
- Publication of Common Sense
- Whether Common Sense was really a bestseller
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Joseph Adelman
- Joe Adelman on Twitter :@jmadelman
- Alyssa Zeurcher Reichardt
- Alyssa Reichardt, “War for the Interior: Imperial Conflict and the Formation of North American and Transatlantic Communications Infrastructure, 1727-1774” (Dissertation)
- Eric Slauter
- Eric Slauter, The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense
- Charles Inglis, The True Interest of America Impartially Stated
- Seth Cotlar
- Tom Paine's America: The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism in the Early Republic
- Trish Loughran
- Trish Loughran, The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770-1870
- David Futch, YouTube Video, “Colonial Williamsburg Virginia Printing Press“
- Omohundro Institute
- William and Mary Quarterly
- OI Reader App
- Episode 076: Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution
- William and Mary Quarterly-Journal of the Early Republic special issue on the American Revolution discount
- Episode 001: James Green, The Library Company of Philadelphia
- Episode 141: A Declaration in Draft
- Episode 144: Robert Parkinson, The Cause of the American Revolution
- Episode 152: Origins of the American Revolution
- Episode 153: Committees and Congress: Governments of the American Revolution
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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