Townshend Crisis Essay, Research Paper
In The American Colonial Press and the Townshend Crisis the author goes into great detail about how the press had a great detail of influence over the people of colonial America. Knight felt that the North Carolina Gazette, South Carolina Gazette, South Carolina and American General Gazette, and The Georgia Gazette influenced the American people to rebel against the powerful British by reporting the stamp act and the Townshend Act. The Stamp Act and The Townshend act were not reported correctly, they were reported form the Americans point of view. By reporting these acts the way they did it was easy for the press to warp the Americans minds and get them to hate the British.
The Colonial papers were the main source for gathering information on what was going on in politics. The newspapers were great ways to shape the way people thought. Close ties were kept with American printers and English printers for the English were the American s main source of information. The Americans were able to get extensive information on the Stamp Act and the Townshend act legislation. This information was Great for the printers it was a sure to sell copies and it would also help aid the rebellion against the British. One way the British helped the American press was by letting them Know the specific details of certain articles that were going to be passed in Parliament. The Newspapers were getting separate information half of the papers were contradicting other Papers. This was due to the British sending American printers information in letters. Half Of the papers were reprinting the British newspapers, which was not full of the exact truth. The other half were printing the truth and what was really happing in Parliament because They were sent the letters from the British press, which contained all of the necessary information.
The author talks about how there may have been miss accurate printing when it reported the details of the Townshend act and the Stamp act. The press was a big reason For the repeal of the Stamp act, the papers shaped the way the American thought about the Stamp act, Pitt and Conway also helped with getting it repealed. The American press printed how the Americans felt about the Stamp act and sent over to England. The papers and Pitt said that Parliament had no right to tax the colonies directly, they did not take into consideration how the Americans felt.
In 1767 the Townshend acts are passed, the papers reported the passage immediately. The Townshend acts included a tax on lead, paint, paper, glass, and tea. The papers in America reported that the taxes were there partly to help the failing West India Company, well it made them a little mad. The British had anticipated that there would be no troubles in America with the passage on the Townshend act. When coming up with this conclusion they did not consider how much influence the press had over the American public. On February 11, 1768 the Massachusetts circular released a letter encouraging all other colonies to protest these acts that were passed with out representation.
Dickinson s letters they were critical about the British Parliament appeared in all but four Colonial papers. All over the American colonies the papers were slowly warping the American mind into rebellion.
Now the English papers were getting involved. They were trying hard to get parliament to tax the Americans. They thought it was wrong that they could manufacture goods in America and sell it cheaper in England than England s own goods. The English papers were also blaming the Americans for the debt of the past war they felt that the Americans should pay for it. The press said they are the biggest beneficiary out of the war, they now know longer have to worry about the French or the Spanish.
It was not long until the Colonial press reported those goods being sent to England were making about 3 million pounds but the merchants in American were not getting there fair share of the profits, this only angered the Americans. The Maryland Gazette printed letters that mentioned that American problems would be taken into consideration, this made the Americans happy. One catch was no one was aloud to go behind the doors when parliament was in session. It was later reported that these statements made by the British were false they were made to please the Americans. Knight the author his thesis was basically that colonial press of America had a direct influence over the American public s opinion. Through out the book he showed direct examples of the press printing something and the people responding to what was written. The newspapers were the main way to gain information on what was happening in the mother country England. They used the papers as a way to unite the colonies. Dickinson used the papers to help him group the Americans into a rebel against the British. The papers were spread out across the country and it was easy to get information out this way, everybody read the paper so why not believe it. Since it was wide spread and they could use it to unite the colonies they did, they were able to start writing articles about how they were being treated by the English and they sent it over there. Since the papers started to print the same thing over and over in every newspaper America started to think the same way. Some of the people might not have thought one way or the other about England but after the papers were distributed for a while and they all had the same thing written in then they all started to think one way. That way was it was not right, they can not be taxed it was unfair.
With out the use of the newspaper people outside of Boston would have never known that they were organizing a movement against the British government. They were rebelling against the Townshend Act and only knew about through the papers. This shows that the papers not only controlled the way people thought but it was a way to inform the people of America what was going on in England and how England was giving no right to the Americans. It also shows that through the papers the were able to organize and rebel against the British and make significant changes for their soon to be new country.