The English Press

  • Victoria E. M. Gardner
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)


Eighteenth-century newspapers, comprising single sheets of paper folded once and printed with time-sensitive information (‘news’) and advertising on both sides, contributed to a new understanding of their readers’ worlds. Published with metronomic regularity, carried by wagon, by post and on horseback across regions and nations, by newsboy and hawker crying through the streets, they spread news, ideas, opinions and fashions. Newspapers connected their readers to one another locally and in geographically disparate towns, villages and regions, encouraging new dimensions of national and imperial belonging, new conceptions of time and space.1 They connected politicians and public, fostering a new accountability of parliament in Westminster to the nation and offered a means by which intensely local politics could interact with national concerns.2 Yet newspapers were more complex, in cause and effect. The press’s capacity to bring people together also created divisions, for newspapers shone inwards light on regional identities and differences, and highlighted the uniqueness of individual communities.3 They were politically opposed. They heightened class differences, physically in their prohibitive cost and in content that underlined the differences in middle-class mores from those above and below. In the later eighteenth century, this power both to unite, intensify and divide made newspapers attractive but also dangerous. This chapter explores how press and state negotiated between them and how provincial newspapers particularly shaped the press-politics landscape.


Eighteenth Century Local Politics Local News Provincial Town Stamp Duty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Victoria E. M. Gardner 2016

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  • Victoria E. M. Gardner

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