Publick knowledge

Today is the anniversary of the first newspaper published in the American colonies.  Publick Occurrences: both Foreign and Domestick was first printed Sept. 25, 1690 by Benjamin Harris.

Undoubtedly one of the shortest-lived publications in mass media history, the paper was quickly condemned and suppressed four days later by the British leaders of Massachusetts.

Colonial Brits weren’t too hot on the idea of an educated public.

In 1671 the governor of Virginia, William Berkeley, asserted that “…learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them….God keep us from both.”

Consequently, less than two years after the censorship and shut-down of Occurrences, Massachusetts was embroiled in the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials.

Public knowledge is such a terrible thing, right?

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