Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Importance of Information

In the beginning of chapter three Starr says, "The institutions that Americans created in the first decades after Independence reflected a new understanding of the political imperatives for knowledge and communication." With the formation of a republican government the people of our country had to be well informed to make decisions and have the "means of understanding our government." (Starr 83) There was almost a trickle down effect starting with newspapers and ending with schooling.
The increasing of the penny press and other newspapers helped spread vast amounts of information to all the people. But that was not enough, the government intervened with the post office and decided to spread it through the nation helping spread news and information like never before. Certain stipulations on mail kept matters private and added to the importance of the new constitution and the morals it provided. As the idea of knowledge spread by the end of chapter three, attending a common school not only for children but adults even women provided the oppurtunity to read which had never happened before.(Starr 105) The most amazing fact about this transformation of knowledge and information was that none of this occured because of technological advancement. Newspapers, the post office, and schools "established the institutional principles for carrying out the Republican creed." (Starr 105)
After reading chapter three Starr gave me the feeling that the people of this country were ready to take the next step and govern to the best of their ability. The governments intervention helped and their realization that "knowledge of every kind" had to be circulated "through every part of the United States" in order to adapt the "principles, morals, manners of our citizens to the republican form of government."(Starr 88) That statement shows me that the government realized with out the spread of information to its citizens this country would not have lasted as a republic. The development of different forms of information was vital to this country and is still the basis for it to be governed by the citizens that inhabit it.


At 11:46 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good, substantive post.

You are correct. This young republic had a need to raise up a generation of citizens not subjects. A process of mass education to prepare a population for democracy was needed. The common school movement was key to this new republican culture, so was a new public sphere made possible by newspapers, cheap print and a postal system of distribution.


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