ERIC Number: ED229772
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Tocqueville, Garrison, and the Perfection of Journalism.
Nord, David Paul
The 1830s marked a lush first flowering of democratic journalism in America--participatory journalism of the sort that Alexis de Tocqueville heralded. But contrary to standard journalism history, this democratic press had nothing to do with the rise of the penny press; in fact, William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist paper, "The Liberator," best expresses Tocqueville's ideals. Trusting in God's truth, Garrison argued that free inquiry would lead to truth and that slavery could not stand up to free discussion. As time went on, Garrison moved from a narrow antislavery stand to advocacy of free expression and free exercise of reason in all areas. For him, discussion was the essence of both journalism and democracy, and reader participation and free discussion involving all parties were essential to the paper. But in the end, though both Tocqueville and Garrison believed in a participatory, associational, group-based press, the penny papers that grew up in the 1830s and 1840s did not embody their ideal, ending up more commercial than democratic. (JL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Garrison (William Lloyd); Journalism History; Tocqueville (Alexis de)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).