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Pen, print and communication in the eighteenth century$
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Caroline Archer-Parré and Malcolm Dick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622300

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622300.001.0001

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Print Culture and Distribution

Print Culture and Distribution

Circulating the Federalist Papers in Post-Revolutionary America

(p.201) 13 Print Culture and Distribution
Pen, print and communication in the eighteenth century

Peter Pellizzari

Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyses how the essays that made up the Federalist Papers were distributed and the extent of their circulation in 1787–8. It examines the contingent nature of early American transportation infrastructure within the context of print circulation. Because of the many hazards in transporting newspapers, Publius—the pseudonym under which James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay published their essays—was not a continentwide spokesman for the entirety of the Federalist cause during the ratification debates, but rather a local phenomenon, whose provincial life was limited by countless contingencies. By examining the circulation of the Federalist Papers, this chapter helps clarify the meaning of the term ‘print culture’ and underscores the importance of material culture to the history of ideas.

Keywords:   Federalist Papers, Publius, Print culture, Alexander Hamilton

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