Home  »  Volume XVI: American EARLY NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART I  »  § 19. Samuel Bowles—The Springfield Republican

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XXI. Newspapers, 1775–1860

§ 19. Samuel Bowles—The Springfield Republican

The highest development in provincial journalism during this period is typified in the Springfield Republican. Established by Samuel Bowles in 1824 as a country weekly, it was converted into a daily in 1844 by his energetic and ambitious son, who bore the same name. From the beginning it was a clean, well written, honest, independent, and conservative paper that reported all of the happenings of its own vicinity, with brief mention of the gist of important events generally. As rapidly as possible its news-gathering was extended until within a few years its columns contained departments of items from every town and hamlet along the Connecticut valley, as well as from Springfield. Bowles believed that the newspaper should be a power in the moral, religious, and literary, as well as the political life of the community, and he tried to make his paper fulfill those functions, not for the world at large but for the people of western Massachusetts. With the aid of J. G. Holland and others who joined the staff the paper attained excellent literary quality and a high moral tone. Probably its success rested most of all upon its political discussions. The excellence of its short, crisp, pithy editorial paragraphs and longer discussions, free from pedantry and heaviness, based always on fundamental ideas and principles, made the Republican widely known and respected. Its opinions soon reached all New England, and after the formation of the Republican party they extended far beyond the limits of any section. But in spite of the extent of its influence, the Republican held steadily to its purpose as a provincial newspaper; it told all the news, gave all sides a fair hearing, preserved its self-respect and independence, frowned on all “isms,” and presented invariably the personal opinions of its editor, whom all its readers knew.