THE BRITISH WEST INDIAN PRESS IN THE AGE OF ABOLITION
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This thesis studies the West Indian press from three perspectives. The fIrst examines newspapers as economic entities, and involves an analysis of capital, equipment, patterns of ownership, and workforce. This section concludes with an examination of the social and economic standing of colonial editors. The second approach concentrates on the political role of the press during a period of tension. The relationships between the press and the component parts of colonial society are discussed seperately. The complex relationship between whiteowned newspapers and the non-white sectors of the populace is considered. Much of this section is devoted to the free coloured press. The volatile relationship between newspapers of all political persuasions and the various branches of colonial Government is examined. The third facet of the thesis grows naturally from the previous two modes of analysis, and is more implicit than explicit. It acknowledges the dangers in crudely identifying editorial columns as public opinion, but suggests that events involving the press constitute a series of snapshots exposing details of colonial life largely absent from official correspondence. The conclusion of the thesis attempts to chart some aspects of the political culture of the colonies. It argues that participatory impulses, long present in white society, received a series of stimuli during the 1820's and 1830's which greatly increased colonial political activity. For the press this led to the development of politically-motivated free coloured newspapers and a defensive invigoration of planter newspapers. Thus, there was a broadening of colonial political culture, but in ways which reflected the different priorities of the white and free coloured groups. In slavebased societies these differences generated irreconcilable conflicts, many of whIch were both revealed and sharpened by the involvement of the press.
AuthorsLewis, Andrew Peter
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