What is this?
Collection of The War newspapers, a Boston-based publication dedicated to coverage of wartime activities from 1812-1815.
When is it from?
Why is it Important?
Before the Internet, television, radio, telephones, and even before the electrical telegraph, there were newspapers. How much have newspapers changed in 200 years? This collection of newspapers published during the War of 1812 offers an illuminating glimpse of early mass communication. Almost anyone with a printing press and a flair for the written word could publish a newspaper in the early 19th century. Weeklies, semi-weeklies, and dailies flooded large cities, while smaller local papers kept smaller communities informed.
One newspaper especially defined by the era was The War. The newspaper’s very existence was precipitated by the War of 1812, and the description in the masthead proclaimed it as “being a faithful record of the transactions of the war.” The editor, Samuel Woodsworth, declared that not only would the paper “support a love of country, and excite a contempt of danger” and “hand down to posterity the names of those heroes of America,” it would also educate its readers in “the art of war.” Not everyone shared Woodsworth’s fervor, and to them he would “detect and hold up to contempt or punishment every effort of internal enemies” of the “just cause.” The War preached to pro-war followers, but it also provided firm information to digest. Presidential addresses, correspondence between diplomats, military battles and other official business were printed weekly. Those with loved ones marching or sailing to war probably found the most recent news in publications like The War, which offered a broad overview of the conflict, from laws and negotiations down to military movements and descriptions of armaments and types of sea-going vessels. Those seeking moral support found it in impassioned editorials, songs, tales of “female patriotism”, and personal accounts of action witnessed.
Learn more (download): Newspapers Archives