American Intelligence
256 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:22 Dec 2019
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Release Date:22 Dec 2019
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American Intelligence

Small-Town News and Political Culture in Federalist New Hampshire

University of Massachusetts Press
The rapid expansion of the newspaper business in the first decade of the American republic had crucial consequences for cultural, commercial, and political life in the early United States, as the nation went from having dozens of weekly newspapers to hundreds. Before organized newsrooms and bureaus came on the scene, these fledgling publications were filled with content copied from other newspapers as well as letters, poems, religious tracts, and ribald anecdotes submitted by readers. 
Taking up the New Hampshire newspaper industry as its case study, American Intelligence unpacks the ways in which an unprecedented quantity of printed material was gathered, distributed, marketed, and consumed, as well as the strong influence that it had on the shaping of the American political imagination. Ben P. Lafferty also considers the lives of the printers themselves and asks why so many men chose to pursue such a fraught and turbulent profession. This snapshot resonates with the contemporary media-saturated and politically chaotic age.
[A] keenly observant, metaphorically rich monograph that shares an intriguing tale . . . the book is engagingly written and organized.'—Early American Literature

A welcome addition to a growing literature on the intersection of print and politics in the early republic . . . American Intelligence is a thoroughly researched and engaging volume that reveals the complexities of small-town print culture and how it was connected to the national and indeed international circulation of news.'—Journal of the Early Republic

'[An] insightful creative study based on in-depth research in both primary sources and a rich array of relevant secondary sources.’—New England Quarterly

'Lafferty's focus on New Hampshire enables readers to gain a fuller understanding of how the press operated and its impact in the 1790s. The author's approach is engaging and will serve to spark further questions about the role of newspapers in the early years of the United States.'—Carol Sue Humphrey, author of The American Revolution and the Press: The Promise of Independence

'Lafferty deserves much credit for readmitting New Hampshire into our early press history. This is local history that matters, for it grounds the story of how our first political parties developed in the late 1790s and anticipates the great power regional and small-town papers would have as the nation moved west.'—Thomas C. Leonard, author of News for All: America's Coming-of-Age with the Press
BEN P. LAFFERTY holds a PhD from the University of London's Institute for the Study of the Americas. He is an independent scholar based in Washington, DC.
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