A Free Press?
Could the same free press that unsettled American loyalty to George III now undermine loyalty to the new constitutional government?
Newspapers free from government control seemed essential for citizens to be well informed about public affairs. But newspapers changed dramatically in the 1790s, when America became deeply divided over both foreign and domestic issues. Colonial papers had declared themselves to be above party politics. Now many newspapers became frankly partisan, presenting only one side of every issue, denouncing anyone who disagreed, sometimes printing rumors about the personal lives of the political opposition. What if privately controlled media misinformed the public about issues that voters needed to understand?