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Reply to Carolyn Eastman, by Jeffrey L. Pasley I would like to thank Carolyn Eastman for her thoughtful evaluations of _Tyranny of Printers_ here on H-SHEAR and at the recent SHEAR session in Berkeley. While her summary and critique do not always emphasize what I might have emphasized, they are generous, fair, and reasonable, the kind of serious consideration that any author would be lucky to receive. Eastman is absolutely right that "there are risks with an expansive argument," and I doubtless ran afoul of most of them, probably more than she brings up. Nevertheless, I hope the list will indulge a few comments in reply. First off, I want to address a specific remark in the review: "Pasley's insistence that the politicization of Republican printers was a _national_ phenomenon . . . is not fully supported by his evidence, which is heavily weighted toward the urban Northeast." There are a couple of problems with this statement: The "urban northeast" was home to quite a large percentage of the population and the press in the 1790s. A phenomenon that can be found in Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, Worcester, Pittsfield, New Haven, New London, Albany, Hudson, New York City, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore has a pretty good claim to being a national phenomenon at that period of American history, especially given the fact (admittedly not fully laid out in the book) that it spread very quickly and thoroughly into the new states west of the Appalachians. Given the fact that I set out to narrate the origins of "newspaper politics," there is necessarily a lot of material here on the well-known Philadelphia editors who were among the earliest and most influential practitioners. Yet Fenno, Freneau, Bache, and Duane set patterns that spread across the country, as I hope the maps and later chapters show. Eastman's comment also seems to conflate two different levels of my argument. Newspapers became politicized almost everywhere that could support more than one paper, and many places that couldn't (at least for more than a few months) by the early 19th century. This happened on a slightly different schedule in various regions, depending on political competitiveness, economic development, and sheer population growth. Politicization was most pronounced in the largest cities during the 1790s and spread out in the countryside after that. It progressed more slowly in the South and in rural areas, but it was still a national trend, and if one checks again in the 1820s or '30s or '40s, there is just no question about this: there were Democratic and Whig or National Republican papers (and often more) in every significant place, including the South and West. (Ohio became a particular hotbed of newspaper politics. Here's a favorite Ohio factoid I recently discovered: Five of the seven men that the Hamilton, Ohio area elected to Congress between 1825 and the Civil War were newspaper editors. Then there's the 1920 presidential election, as mentioned on page one of _Tyranny of Printers_. Even in the 1790s, however, Virginia and the Carolinas had both Republican and Federalist papers in the larger towns, though they were usually not as intensely politicized as their counterparts in Boston or Philadelphia or New York. This is not to say that all newspapers were intensely partisan or that politics dominated the publishing industry as a whole. Instead, as I argue, following Rosalind Remer's _Printers and Men of Capital_ in a passage Eastman quotes, political newspapers became a distinct "sector of the publishing industry," one that more profit-oriented printers and publishers like Mathew Carey tended to eschew. At the same time, _Tyranny of Printers_ was never meant to be a book about printing or publishing or even newspapers in general, but instead about what certain printers, publishers, and newspapers came to mean to the political system. That's why it was a little disappointing to be taken to task for not capturing "the complex roles of editors of this era--they were, among other things, shapers of rhetorical styles, typographical innovators, and cultural mediators" in my eagerness "to equate the role of newspaper editor with that of politician." I have to take issue with that last phrase. What I argued was that politics came to outweigh normal business calculations for many political publishers; politics was the only reason many partisan newspapers were kept in business. But obviously not even the most obsessive politicians can practice their politics all the time. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster had law practices, and editors really did run newspapers that had to be filled with content and physically produced whether there was a hot campaign going on or not. I was not trying to exclude all those other roles, many of which even non-editorial politicians performed, but I also did not see elucidating them as the task of this book. What Eastman calls for is exactly the kind of thing that the growing literature on print culture or the "history of the book" does very well, along with cultural history more generally. Noah Webster has not lacked for interpreters! But these works often shy away from partisan politics, either by de-emphasizing the political involvements of their subjects or by overlooking printers, editors, and publishers who were heavily involved in politics. My view was that others were doing a great job describing the business strategies and cultural roles of printers and publishers; what I could do was focus more attention on their political importance. Down the road, another book on the broader involvements of Democratic Republican editors (and other politicians) is a distinct possibility. To return to the comment about the northeastern bias of my evidence, the politicization of printers needs to be kept somewhat separate from the emerging political role of newspapers. The radicalization of printers was indeed a more geographically specific development, concentrated in the towns and cities from Baltimore northward and certainly not applicable to all or even most printers in those places. The printers who did become radicalized just happen to have played a critical role in the rise of a bigger and more aggressively partisan Republican press. In the South, the press became politicized, but usually not under the auspices of printers or even working-class radical types like James T. Callender. Printer Charles Holt was a more typical northern editor, while gentleman dilettante Thomas Ritchie was more typical of the type of man who edited southern political newspapers. This distinction is one that a lot of reviewers have missed, and such potential for confusion may well be, as Eastman says, one of the downsides of my decision to write the book as a narrative with the analysis and arguments woven in, rather structuring the book around the arguments. Personally, I like to believe that the risk is worth running, that it should be possible to write a history that both tells a good story and seriously analyzes the past, that both my neighbors and my fellow historians can enjoy, albeit on different levels. * * * * * * The other major issue I wanted to raise concerns Eastman's criticisms of my arguments about democratization. First of all, I tried to be clear that I was making a quite limited claim about "compartmentalized" democratization, not resurrecting old stories about Jeffersonian or Jacksonian democracy or the Rise of the Common Man, but instead trying to temper the heavy-handed debunking that historians have been administering to almost any notion of democratization in the Early Republic for roughly the last 40 years. (Obviously some of the old new political historians’ work on voting and party development needs to be exempted from that remark, but even they pushed democratization later and later into the 19th century.) Moreover, though I certainly do believe that democracy is good thing and that many of my Republican editors fought for some worthy causes, I did not claim and would never claim that the democracy they sought and achieved was complete or even sufficient, or that it went much beyond the realm of political rights. Blacks and women were increasingly excluded from voting, and, economically speaking, even white workingmen did not necessarily benefit from the new, more democratic politics that emerged after 1800. Many historians, including myself, do not like many of the policies that Jefferson, his allies, and successors pursued in office. Yet to me it seems self-defeating to ignore democratization that was occurring just because it was limited or because we don't care for the immediate results. Really, the questions are separate: a democratic regime can do bad things and still be democratic, and that would still be worth knowing. For both stronger arguments in favor of democratization in this period and stronger arguments about the poor results of that democracy, please see my contribution to Peter Onuf, Jan Lewis, and James Horn's forthcoming collection, _The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race, and the New Republic_. The problem with studying democratization, or even bringing it up, is that many historians define the term in an overly expansive and even romantic fashion. To qualify as democratic, early America must display economic, social, and racial democracy (often conceived as something much closer to equality) to go along with the political democracy. Even political democracy must be of the massively participatory and relatively spontaneous kind sought by certain 20th century radical movements. If too many aggressive campaigners or powerful leaders are identified, democracy levels are severely downgraded. Finally, the hearts of "real" democratizers must be pure; they must seek power and status only for the people and never for themselves. I am not sure that there has ever been any polity or set of politicians in the history of the world who qualify as small-d democrats if these are to be the standards, nor will there ever be, even if the Revolution comes. I do not mean to accuse Eastman of holding these attitudes, but I do think some of them are roiling in her discussion of democratization. She remarks, by way of questioning my account of democratization, "that Pasley's interpretation of these men as democratizers overlooks their individual motives to focus instead on far more abstract social shifts toward egalitarianism. Republican printer-editors may not have used their printing offices to seek wealth matching that of gentlemen of the period, but they did seek political power to match that of powerful gentlemen." In other words, those who seek political power cannot be after democracy or cause democratization. I just cannot agree. In my view, even the most ideologically driven of political actors seek power, if only to implement their ideology. In the case of democratization, that term can almost be defined as the broadening of access to political power. Printers who sought power equal to that of the gentlemen were promoting the cause of democratization almost by definition, even if they did it for completely cynical and selfish reasons, which most of the editors I studied did not. Eastman is certainly correct that there are questions about "the extent to which" these democratizers "left the door open for others to follow." Racially and economically, American society was certainly not becoming more egalitarian in the early 19th century. In terms of less distinguished white men, however, the doors certainly did stay open, as the book and its website show, and they helped launch a process that would go much further in later eras while using many of the same methods and ideas. Democratization did not end in 1829, when Andrew Jackson started appointing editors to office, but that was an important stage along the way. Finally, I did not intend to write a book that was "out of step with labor history," a field I have greatly admired since I first encountered _Chants Democratic_ my first semester in graduate school. I had actually thought that _Tyranny of Printers_ was rather influenced by labor history, certainly much more so than most traditional political histories I have read. I certainly learned a great deal from labor historians about the printing trade and the aspirations of American artisans, and I do wish that I had done more with the internal politics of the trade and the labor strife that some political newspapers endured or inspired, often by squeezing from their employees the money they could not collect from their subscribers. However, my book looks at the printing trade from a different angle than a typical labor history might have, and it employs a different narrative. But perhaps this is not altogether a bad thing. One of the problems with the labor history literature is the way it tends to elide or demonize the entrepreneurial lower middling ranges of American society, to "other" them in a quest to elucidate the origins of "the" working class or to follow the struggles of most downtrodden categories of workers. Labor history has taught us a great deal about the battles of journeymen and apprentices and laborers in their struggles against masters and managers and factory owners, but the journeymen who succeeded in becoming masters despite the changes are often treated rather simply as having betrayed their peers or gone over to the other side. At the same time, the traditional labor history categories are often not very useful when dealing specifically with struggling political newspaper publishers in the 1790s and early 1800s, when the middle- or upper-class shop owners were often downwardly mobile, and many of the "masters" had just graduated from journeyman status themselves. Some of them were even doomed to experience that status again, or something similar, later in life. As I argue in chapter 9, political journalism was actually a means for young printers, like New York Typographical Society activist and future corporate lobbyist Thurlow Weed, to save themselves from the deteriorating conditions in the printing trade. If that means _Tyranny of Printers_ is the "story of the winners of the era"--an idea that William Duane and many of the other editors who ended their lives in poverty and relative obscurity would find grimly amusing--then so be it. Personally I don't find it helpful to divide early American society simply into winners and losers--it is not as though every printer who did not spend life as a journeyman went on to become a Rockefeller or a Vanderbilt or even a Clay or a Seward. Compare the number of full manuscript collections and mansions left behind by lawyer-statesmen and captains of industry to the relative handful of such traces left by editor politicians. Like many journalists, they tended to be people who were important and well-known in their time and locality whose memory did not long outlast them. Even if we accept a two-tiered division of American society, then historians have to be prepared to study the "winners" as well as the "losers." Without valorizing it as a "middle class democracy," I think we need more histories of the Early Republic's articulate but now-obscure middling elements, as well as its elites and its inarticulate and/or disenfranchised masses. I suspect that somewhere in the vast social space between the Founders and their slaves, a lot of important and even formative developments were taking place. Jeffrey L. Pasley University of Missouri PasleyJ@missouri.edu