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By Donald Henderson Stewart

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Sullivan, of the National Archives, supplied information concerning Oliver Wolcott. Emanuel Bilz, of Santa Monica, California, spent many hours assisting me in translating a sizeable portion of the news items that were in German. Gratitude is also due to Columbia University, for the grant of a traveling fellowship enabling me to visit most of the forty-five libraries noted in the appendix. My profound thanks go also to numerous staff workers at these libraries for competently and cheerfully complying with requests that must at times have seemed to them needless or inane.

There were dangers in reading only one paper, but even the worst journals tended to convey instruction and to generalize Page 14 knowledge. A good newspaper performed infinite service among those incapable of thinking for themselves. 53 What factors explain this surprising influence of the Fourth Estate? The dingy, four-page newssheets of the late eighteenth century lacked such latterday staples as sports sections, pictures, wire reports, and comic strips, yet they possessed intense interest for their readers.

Seldom has it accomplished both functions so completely as in the years immediately following the ratification of the Federal Constitution. Adoption of that document had convinced most remaining skeptics of the effectiveness of printed propaganda. The famed Federalist Papers in themselves may not have carried the New York state convention for approval,5 but their potency nevertheless was nationally recognized. A majority of newspaper editors had favored the Constitution and were convinced of the part their publications played in achieving its acceptance.

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