The Wives of the Dead Historical Context

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Eighteenth-Century Newspapers

Hawthorne sets his story in the early eighteenth century in Massachusetts' Bay Province, and his two principle characters, Margaret and Mary, learn of their husbands' fate through men who visit them at their home. As one can imagine, news traveled slowly more than three hundred and fifty years ago. British censors kept a tight grip on what could be printed, and attempts to disseminate information that was not sponsored by the British government was forbidden. In 1690, for example, the governor of Massachusetts shut down Benjamin Harris's independent newsletter, Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, almost immediately because of its perceived threat to power. The first successful newspaper publisher in the colonies was William Campbell, postmaster of Boston, whose News-Letter was launched in 1704 to keep people in the Bay Colony apprised of world events. This changed to the Boston Gazette in 1719. Benjamin Franklin's older brother, James, who...

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This section contains 732 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Wives of the Dead Study Guide
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The Wives of the Dead from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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