All in a matter of almost sixty years, the global community lived through two pivotal revolutions (French and American), watched the invention of modern presses, witnessed the growth of new and more lucrative industries and experienced the transformation of society from a more agrarian culture to an industrial one.
By the 1830s, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and the dollar ruled the sensibilities of day! Revolution surfaced in every facet of society that was in transition, as everyone who believed in the humanistic ideals of past revolutions challenged society’s leaders to stay true to their promise to respect the rights of man.
At the peak of the Industrial Revolution, women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery and child labor were some of the more controversial social causes of the day. Meanwhile, business and the economy greatly benefited financially from the new ways in which manpower combined with machinery could be exploited.
On the one hand, statesman and businessmen alike enjoyed the perks of being leaders of this new society. Even more so, the excitement that came with every new discovery only fueled capitalistic ideals. However, even with the technological advances, a good portion of society was still marginalized!
At the center of all this societal upheaval was media, a tool that transmitted information much quicker than in previous decades.
During and after the American Revolution, news was disseminated by means of press agency. With the advent of the printing presses in America and in Europe, though, numerous copies of the news could be printed for public consumption.
For example, in the United States, The New York Herald, one of the country’s first papers, could produce at least 30,000 units of copy by 1835. To gain a little perspective, at the beginning of the century most presses could print only a few thousands of copies.
A couple of things were going on during the rise of the newspaper:
Then, printing became more affordable…. This affordability allowed newspapers to print more copies and much cheaper, but more significantly, this allowed for newspapers to lower the cost on copy and the papers became affordable and accessible to the masses!
The results of these advances were…
With the inclusion of P.T. Barnum’s sensational stories about Joice Heth, political news and other human interest stories, people began to actually read the papers!
People wanted to read about speeches delivered at abolitionist meetings!
People wanted to know about states’ rights!
People wanted to know about these hysterical women who demanded the right to vote!
People wanted to know about the ugliness of child labor!
They wanted the newsssss!
…And newspapers gave writers the platform from which to inform and persuade the public.
More importantly, these papers allowed organizations and politicians to connect with the public, to relate to the public.
These papers began the formation of public relations….
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