North Carolina's federalists in an evolving public sphere, 1790-1810

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Scott King-Owen (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Alan Watson

Abstract: Frustrated by electoral defeat at the hands of Jefferson and his allies in 1800, North Carolina’s Federalists devised a plan in 1802 to send the Minerva, a Raleigh newspaper edited by William Boylan, to leading Federalists across the state. These Federalist leaders, including Duncan Cameron, William R. Davie, and Alfred Moore, all prominent politicians and lawyers, believed that the public mind had been corrupted by the newspaper propaganda of the Jeffersonian Republicans. The dissemination of the Minerva, however, could restore the public to a deferential position as well as increase their knowledge about the true state of political affairs. Though the newspapers found their way to each judicial district in North Carolina, they failed to transform the public sphere. The editor of the Minerva, William Boylan, increased the rancor of his partisan invective throughout 1802 and 1803, even though Federalist electoral success still remained elusive. Boylan also pursued the position of state printer, a job which he and his uncle had held for a number of years, but which had been given to Joseph Gales, an Englishman and Republican editor of the Raleigh Register. When Boylan failed to obtain the position of state printer in 1804, he became increasingly bitter toward Gales. When Gales accused Boylan of burning down the press of the Raleigh Register, Boylan responded by beating Gales savagely on the streets of Raleigh in 1804. Boylan, humbled in court by a fine in 1805, retreated from his former partisanship as his Federalist comrades abandoned him because of his attack on Gales. The Federalists, therefore, failed in their attempt to control the public sphere because they could not imitate Jeffersonian propaganda without betraying their conceptions of disinterestedness, virtue, and reason.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Cameron Duncan b. ca. 1780, Federalist, Minerva (Raleigh, N.C.), North Carolina--Politics and government--1775-1865
Cameron, Duncan, b. ca. 1780
Minerva (Raleigh, N.C.)
North Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1775-1865

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