American Journalism

Once more, this is a post written by Joseph regarding Journalism. As mentioned in a previous post, this is a requirement of his FLVS course. Please leave comments, as he appreciates any feedback regarding his writing!

Journalism in the Western Hemisphere, particularly the new land of “America” can trace its roots to Captain John Smith (founder of Jamestown) who published a newsletter entitled “Newes from Virginia”. Others periodically found their way into the growing English colonies. Eventually though, “American” journalism officially began when the “colonies across the sea” sought independence from an increasingly immoral and irresponsible government.

Samuel Adams and the “Sons of Liberty” spread word of British movements through the “Journal of Occurrences” which appeared in several colonial newspapers. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was disseminated through newspapers as well—describing that the only way for revolution (return to the norm) was through war. Over 20 newspapers carried the Declaration of Independence—spreading the word through the colonies about the now self-declared nation of America. The advent of the printing press was vital to the spread of news throughout the colonies. Men were able to debate for or against the Revolutionary war in an open forum, where others could observe and learn from their debates. Many ministers preached the importance of separating from England through their pulpits! Considering that most preachers of the day pre-wrote and read their sermons, this can be considered a form of Journalism.

After the Revolutionary war, when America was recognized as an independent nation, they set about creating a stable government. When the Constitution was created, it took many years for it to be accepted by all the states. The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, were disseminated throughout newspapers in all the states. The Federalist Papers described, in detail, the logic behind the Constitution, and the importance of accepting it. Soon after its acceptance by the states, ten amendments (The Bill of Rights) were added to guarantee certain core freedoms.

The Bill of Rights guaranteed basic freedoms—freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to “bear arms”, etc. By distinctly marking these rights of citizens, the Founding Fathers made it clear that the government could never intrude into the basic human rights of Americans. Since the time of the Revolutionary War, the Government has, in part, disregarded many of these core freedoms. The restrictions on publishing books, the PATRIOT act, and “gun control”, are a few examples of the ever-growing power of the Government. If freedom of the press were not guaranteed, we would have no forum to express our opinions on any subject.

If we don’t use our freedom of speech to verbally fight against the overreaching powers of the federal government, we will see our rights continually limited. Our nation reflects only in part what the founding fathers envisioned for it, because the moral standards which they held are either not believed, or not verbalized publicly.

It may not be too long, before the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights become disregarded in growing folds of a strong central government. If we do not speak out, America may pass into the annals of history one more example of something that once was great.

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