AURORA. Founded in 1790 as the General Advertiser by Benjamin Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, this Philadelphia newspaper was the most important political journal of its era. After Philip Freneau's National Gazette folded in 1793, Bache's journal became the nation's leading outlet for criticism of the Washington administration and its policies. Adding Aurora to the title in November 1794, Bache defended the French Revolution and the Democratic-Republican Societies and bitterly opposed the administration's perceived pro-British slant. After publishing the leaked text of the Jay Treaty in 1795 and helping generate widespread protests against it, the Aurora became one of the few newspapers to extensively criticize George Washington himself, accusing the president of monarchical tendencies, financial malfeasance, and a poor military record. Losing the fight against the Jay Treaty, the Aurora emerged as the most important journalistic champion of Thomas Jefferson over John Adams in the elections of 1796 and 1800, becoming the hub of a Jeffersonian Republican newspaper network that spread the Aurora's message into every corner of the nation. The Aurora was widely cited by allies and enemies alike as a key factor in Jefferson's eventual victory.
Subjected to multiple forms of legal, social, and physical harassment, the editors of the Aurora were considered the primary targets of the 1798 Sedition Act; Bache was arrested under the law but died of yellow fever before he could be tried. His assistant, the radical Irish refugee William Duane, took over a revived Aurora and made it even more effective, setting its attacks on Adams and its defenses of Jefferson in the context of a wide-ranging indictment of British imperialism, religious intolerance, and the "reign of terror," which Republicans believed Federalists were conducting to force their opponents and the general population into submission. During 1800, Duane conducted a long investigation into alleged corruption at the Treasury and War Departments, supposedly covered up by arson just after Adams was defeated. Duane suffered myriad beatings, prosecutions, and lawsuits for his trouble, including a citation of contempt of the U.S. Senate that forced him into hiding for a time in 1800.
Duane's uncompromising radicalism on issues such as banking and the judiciary increasingly estranged him from the regnant Republican establishment, elements of which set up competing newspapers that aimed to curb his power. This campaign against the alleged "tyranny of printers" took its toll by the 1810s, reducing the Aurora to the status of influential in-house critic, rather than semi-official voice, of the Republican Party. It nevertheless continued to publish until 1824.
Pasley, Jeffrey L. "The Tyranny of Printers": Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2001.
Phillips, Kim T. William Duane, Radical Journalist in the Age of Jefferson. New York: Garland, 1989.
Rosenfeld, Richard. American Aurora: A Democratic-Republican Returns. New York: St. Martin's, 1997.
Tagg, James. Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia "Aurora." Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.
"Aurora." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/aurora
"Aurora." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/aurora
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.