Cover image for Debating the issues in colonial newspapers : primary documents on events of the period
Debating the issues in colonial newspapers : primary documents on events of the period
Copeland, David A., 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvii, 397 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Newspapers in colonial America -- Censorship, printing control, and freedom of the press, 1690 -- Inoculation controversy, 1721 -- Impartiality, objectivity, and the press, 1729 -- Attakulakula visits King George II, 1730: Native American-English relations -- Trial of John Peter Zenger, 1735 -- Women's rights, 1738 -- Stono Rebellion, 1739 -- Great Awakening and George Whitefield, 1739-1745 -- Religious divisions, 1740-1745 -- Massachusetts legalizes lotteries, 1744 -- Medical discoveries and the amazing "Chinese stones, " 1745 -- Paper money and the Currency Act, 1751 -- New York public education controversy, 1753-1755 -- Albany Congress, the Plan of Union, and the French and Indian War, 1754-1763 -- Cherokee War, 1759-1761 -- Stamp Act crisis, 1765-1766 -- "No taxation without representation, " 1765-1766 -- The Sons of Liberty, 1765-1776 -- Tories versus patriots, 1768-1775 -- Nonimportation agreements, 1768-1775 -- Boston Massacre, 1770 -- Religious liberty: Baptists call for toleration, 1770-1776 -- Somerset case and the anti-slavery controversy, 1772 -- Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party, 1773-1774 -- Continental Congress, 1774-1775 -- Edenton Tea Party and perceptions of women, 1774 -- Arguments over going to war with England, 1774-1776 -- Separation from England, 1768-1776 -- Battles of Lexington and Concord, 1775 -- Declaration of Independence, 1776.
Reading Level:
1340 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E187 .C78 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



For every major event or issue of the colonial period, newspapers printed the opinions of the day, in many cases attempting to influence public opinion. Issues such as medical discoveries, education, and censorship are covered in this collection along with important events such as the French and Indian War, the trial of John Peter Zenger, and the Boston Massacre. Each chapter introduces the event or issue and includes news articles, letters, essays, even poetry representing both sides of the argument as they affected Americans. Each document is preceded by an explanatory introduction. This is the only collection of primary source documents from colonial newspapers on the events of the era and will be a valuable tool for research and classroom discussion.

Author Notes

DAVID A. COPELAND is the A. J. Fletcher Professor of Communication at Elon University. A past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, he was named Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Virginia Professor of the Year in 1998.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Copeland, a professor of mass communication at Emory and Henry College in Virginia, has authored several books and articles on the history of early American journalism. His latest monograph is a resource on the press in the colonial era. The book is arranged in 31 chapters covering topics from 1690 (the year American newspaper publishing began) to 1776. Some of the topics include "The Inoculation Controversy, 1721," "Women's Rights, 1738," and "Religious Divisions, 1740^-1745." Events such as the "The Stamp Act Crisis, 1765^-1766," "The Boston Massacre, 1770," and "The Battles of Lexington and Concord, 1775" are also treated. An introduction gives a brief history of newspapers and publishing in colonial America. Each chapter has the same format: an introduction followed by several documents on both sides of a controversy. These documents may include opinion pieces, letters, essays, or news reports that appeared in newspapers. Documents are preceded by brief paragraphs supplying background detail and reproduced with the original grammar and spelling intact, although it appears that some editing has been done. At the end of each chapter is a list of questions designed to help readers put the various documents in perspective and bibliographic notes to the chapter introduction. Rounding out the volume are a chronology of events and a bibliography of current books, articles, and Internet sites. There are several excellent collections of primary documents on colonial America. The multivolume Pamphlets of the American Revolution 1750^-1776 (Harvard, 1965) only covers pamphlets. The two-volume American Political Writing During the Founding Era 1760^-1805 (Liberty Press, 1983) does include complete unedited newspaper articles but surveys only politics. Debating the Issues in Colonial Newspapers is an excellent source for studying numerous topics of the colonial American period and should be considered for high-school, public, and undergraduate libraries.

Choice Review

Aimed at complementing course study of Colonial and early revolutionary America, this reader contains 300 chronologically arranged newspaper items, treating 31 subjects. An introduction to newspaper development for the period, chapter prefaces, and headnotes enhance understanding of context and significance. Suggested essay questions guide students in applying their own critical interpretations. Some topics are specific (the Stamp Act crisis), and others more general (religion). Freedom of the press (including the Zenger case) and women's issues are adequately represented, while lesser-known subjects such as medicine and Indian visits to England are included. One might wish for coverage of slavery per se, the frontier/Indian situation of the revolutionary era, the broad impact of the Continental Association, the Regulator movements in the Carolinas, crime and punishment, riots, and daily living. Considering space limitations, however, the subjects and documents are appropriately selected and cogently presented. The book should appeal to students and the wider audience. Recommended for undergraduate and general collections. H. M. Ward; emeritus, University of Richmond

Table of Contents

Introduction: Newspapers in Colonial Americap. vii
1. Censorship, Printing Control, and Freedom of the Press, 1690p. 1
2. The Inoculation Controversy, 1721p. 13
3. Impartiality, Objectivity, and the Press, 1729p. 26
4. Attakulakula Visits King George II, 1730: Native American-English Relationsp. 43
5. The Trial of John Peter Zenger, 1735p. 58
6. Women's Rights, 1738p. 70
7. The Stono Rebellion, 1739p. 81
8. The Great Awakening and George Whitefield, 1739-1745p. 94
9. Religious Divisions, 1740-1745p. 109
10. Massachusetts Legalizes Lotteries, 1744p. 123
11. Medical Discoveries and the Amazing "Chinese Stones," 1745p. 132
12. Paper Money and the Currency Act, 1751p. 142
13. The New York Public Education Controversy, 1753-1755p. 154
14. The Albany Congress, the Plan of Union, and the French and Indian War, 1754-1763p. 165
15. The Cherokee War, 1759-1761p. 180
16. The Stamp Act Crisis, 1765-1766p. 192
17. "No Taxation without Representation," 1765-1766p. 205
18. The Sons of Liberty, 1765-1776p. 216
19. Tories versus Patriots, 1768-1775p. 226
20. Nonimportation Agreements, 1768-1775p. 237
21. The Boston Massacre, 1770p. 247
22. Religious Liberty: Baptists Call for Toleration, 1770-1776p. 260
23. The Somerset Case and the Anti-Slavery Controversy, 1772p. 276
24. The Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party, 1773-1774p. 288
25. The Continental Congress, 1774-1775p. 302
26. The Edenton Tea Party and Perceptions of Women, 1774p. 316
27. Arguments over Going to War with England, 1774-1776p. 328
28. Separation from England, 1768-1776p. 340
29. The Battles of Lexington and Concord, 1775p. 352
30. Thomas Paine Publishes Common Sense, 1776p. 363
31. The Declaration of Independence, 1776p. 372
Chronology of Eventsp. 383
Selected Bibliographyp. 387
Indexp. 391