American Politics: Campaign Newspapers
An America’s Historical Newspapers Collection
America’s Historical Newspapers is a fabulous tool for research...and it will also be rewarding for…teachers and students who want to use old newspapers as part of their study of the American story.
Bruce Chadwick, Professor of History, Rutgers University in Journal of American History

Quick Facts

  • First major collection of 19th-century American newspapers devoted to specific political campaigns and issues
  • Coverage of all presidential and many important regional campaigns from the Early National Era to Reconstruction
  • More than 300 papers from more than 30 states, published between 1803 and 1876  

Overview

American Politics: Campaign Newspapers—the first and only collection of American papers solely covering specific political campaigns and issues—provides detailed primary-source documentation of the issues, arguments and opposing viewpoints that shaped 19th-century U.S. political history. Encompassing more than 300 papers published from 1803 to 1876 across more than 30 states, this one-of-a-kind resource offers essential core materials for teaching and researching American political history and related fields.

Powerful topic, nationwide coverage, vibrant language
Unlike the many newspapers that served as organs of political parties, campaign newspapers were a distinct category. Part of a pervasive, powerful phenomenon, campaign newspapers generally focused on a specific presidential (in most cases) or regional campaign. Political platforms and current issues were covered in detail. While most papers were short-lived, others continued for months or years to follow the policies of elected officials and compare them with their original platforms, as a way to foster accountability. Under the vague libel laws of the era, lurid gossip and purple prose were common.

From Horace Greeley to Abraham Lincoln
American Politics: Campaign Newspapers covers the U.S. from coast to coast; Western states are well represented. The collection offers the earliest examples of campaign papers, including Horace Greeley’s The Log Cabin (New York, NY),and The Old Soldier (Springfield, IL), on whose editorial board Abraham Lincoln served. Campaign Newspapers also reflects the militaristic nature of many papers in the genre, embodied in the National Campaign Banner (Middletown, New York), which called itself “Generalissimo of freedom’s forces in the United States.” The editor of another represented title, the St. Louis Mill-Boy, urged readers to preserve the paper because its contents “will always be valuable, and will be frequently wanted for reference, perhaps for years to come.” 

Other key titles include The Corrector (New York, NY), Delaware Democrat & Easton Gazette (Easton, PA), United States Telegraph Extra (Washington, DC), Star of the West (Apalachicola, FL), The Campaign Enquirer (Richmond, VA), Star of Empire (San Francisco, CA), Loyal National Union Journal (Brownsville, TX), Pueblo Republican (Pueblo, CO) and many others.

Other subject-specific newspaper collections
American Politics: Campaign Newspapers is part of a new group of collections designed to meet targeted teaching and research needs. Other subject-specific collections include American Business: Agricultural Newspapers, American Business: Mercantile Newspapers, American Gazettes: Newspapers of Record, and American Religion: Denominational Newspapers.

Reviews

“Boasts over 300 titles from more than 30 states published between 1803 and 1876, showcasing periodicals devoted to specific political campaigns and issues, particularly presidential campaigns.  These documents also cover political platforms and topics of the day….highly recommended for academic libraries seeking to expand their primary source coverage in history…”
Library Journal, reviewing subject-specific collections of America’s Historical Newspapers (June 2016)

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