The Press, Petitions and Progressive Era Politics: The effect of newspaper entry on political activism in the United States (1870-1920)
FieldOrganizations and Markets
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam, E building, Kitchen/Lounge E1
Date and time
June 01, 2023
12:00 - 13:00
This paper aims to establish the effect of media entry on political activism in the United States. I focus on the period between 1870 and 1920, when newspapers were the primary source of information about politics and the state of the world. I investigate the impact of newspaper entry on both the frequency and content of petitions to Congress, which were the primary way of ordinary citizens to communicate with their representatives. Initial findings indicate the entry of a newspaper is associated with a 20% rise in petitioning, driven mostly by abstract policy issues like national regulation and anti-trust, social issues like prohibition and economic policy. In the future, this paper will attempt to tie together three important trends. First, the rise of the daily newspaper. Second, an increase in the number of petitions. And third, major political reforms, including the establishment of the administrative and regulatory state.