'of Great Utility to the People of Cincinnati': The Centinel of the North-Western Territory Reports the French Revolution.
International Social Science Review, 2008, Spring-Summer, 83, 1-2
International Social Science Review
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By all accounts, life on the American frontier at the end of the eighteenth century could be very lonely, especially in an area as large and pristine as the Northwest Territory. The isolation of life at the fringes of civilization could be remedied by the presence of a newspaper that brought the outer world, which probably seemed so far away, into close proximity, allowing settlers to maintain contact with the eastern seaboard. But there was more to newspapers than mere diversion; they were (and still are) not only sources of news or advertisements but also a medium for informing and shaping public opinion. (1) In the days before mass distribution, newspapers were usually read by multiple readers with the same copy circulated among a large readership of friends or acquaintances. This process of sharing information fostered a sense of engagement within the local community and with the outside world that reinforced common goals by creating a shared sense of risks as well as accomplishments. As such, newspapers can serve as a mechanism for binding a community together and forging a consensus on how to address common problems. (2) In this sense, they can be valuable sources for determining how communities viewed themselves and the difficulties that they faced. This study explores one of the many issues facing Cincinnati during its early years of settlement through the prism of its newspaper, The Centinel of the North- Western Territory, the first (and only) newspaper in the Northwest Territory during the early 1790s. Specifically, it examines how relations with Native Americans were reflected through that newspaper's coverage of the major international news of that period, the French Revolution. The editor of The Centinel of the North-Western Territory published articles on the French Revolution to show how the French dealt with their problems so that local readers could see models of how to "scientifically" improve the quality of life in Cincinnati.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Social Science
- Published: 22 March 2008
- Publisher: Pi Gamma Mu
- Print Length: 32 Pages
- Language: English