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.
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.
Hesiod's Theogony (as Eos), Ovid's
Metamorphoses, Homer's Odyssey (as Eos)
Daughter of Hyperion and Theia
Aurora (pronounced aw-RAWR-uh), according to Roman mythology,
was the goddess of the dawn. The Greeks called her Eos, though she has come to be more commonly known by her Roman name. She was the daughter of the Titans Hyperion (pronounced hy-PEER-ee-on) and Theia (pronounced THEE-uh), and the sister of Helios (pronounced HEE-lee-ohs; the sun god) and Selene (pronounced suh-LEE-nee; the moon goddess). Every morning, Aurora arose from the sea and rode in her horse-drawn chariot across the sky ahead of the sun, carrying a pitcher from which she sprinkled dew upon the earth.
Aurora's first husband was the Titan Astraeus (pronounced ah-STRAY-uhs). They had several sons: the winds Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus, as well as the morning star Eosphorus and the evening star Hesperus. Aurora's beauty caused Mars, the Roman god of war, to take an interest in her. This angered Venus, who caused Aurora to fall in love with a number of mortals. She even married one of them, Tithonus (pronounced tih-THOHN-uhs), and begged Zeus (pronounced ZOOS) to make him immortal. Zeus granted Aurora's wish, but she forgot to ask for Tithonus's eternal youth too. As a result, he continued to age until he became a shriveled old man. Aurora shut him away in his room until the gods finally took pity on him and turned him into a grasshopper.
Aurora in Context
The terms “aurora borealis” and “aurora australis” are used to refer to bands of colored light sometimes visible in the night sky, especially near the North or South Poles. This phenomenon is also known as the “northern lights” and the “southern lights.” Although Greece and Italy are not very close to the North Pole, several ancient Greek and Roman writers documented sightings of the northern lights over the years. Although some attempted to explain these appearances using scientific principles, it is likely that many ancient Greeks and Romans considered these strange and beautiful bands of light to be the work of the goddess of dawn.
Key Themes and Symbols
As the goddess of dawn, Aurora came to be associated with the glow in the sky seen before sunrise, as well as the early morning dew. She represents the boundary between day and night, which are her siblings. In the story of Tithonus, Aurora represents someone who is ruled more by her heart than her head.
Aurora in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life
Although Aurora was not as popular as some other goddesses, she was the subject of paintings by artists such as Guido Reni, Nicolas Poussin, Guercino, and Simon Julien. She is mentioned by name in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet (1597). The name “Aurora” has also been used by a number of fictional characters not directly related to the myth, including a Marvel Comics super-heroine and the princess who serves as the main character in the Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty (1959).
Read, Write, Think, Discuss
In ancient cultures, natural events such as the northern lights were often believed to have supernatural or divine causes. Using your library, the Internet, or other resources, research a natural event such as thunder or earthquakes. Write a scientific description of the process that causes this event to happen. Can you find an example of an ancient culture that believed this event to be caused by the gods?
The Philadelphia Aurora began as the General Advertiser and changed its name in 1794. It was virtually a national daily for the followers of Thomas Jefferson until about 1808, when the Washington National Intelligencer began to eclipse it. During the early national period, the Aurora proclaimed Jeffersonian principles, but it grew increasingly extreme and eventually pleased only radical Jeffersonians.
During the 1790s, guided by its editors Benjamin Franklin Bache and William Duane, the Aurora opposed the Washington and Adams administrations. The paper denounced Alexander Hamilton's financial system, Federalist alliances with Britain, and especially the Alien and Sedition Acts. Instead, the Aurora supported the French Revolution, democratic and local governance, and economic policies hostile to the concentration of wealth.
After 1800 none could ignore the Aurora. As the Federalists declined, the followers of Jefferson split over what their victory should mean. The Aurora called for sweeping reforms, seeking a more democratic society. It denounced the independent judiciary and opposed constitutions since they could prevent popularly elected majorities from implementing majority will. The paper excoriated common law and insisted that only statutes enacted by popular legislatures should govern a democracy. The Aurora frightened moderate Jeffersonians by insisting that majority will should intervene in the economy to preserve what it called "the happy mediocrity of condition." By 1805 several Jeffersonian newspapers had emerged to argue with the Aurora, and by 1810 the paper was in decline. Duane sold the paper in 1822 and left for South America, seeking what he considered real democracy.
Rosenfeld, Richard N. American Aurora: A Democratic-Republican Returns: The Suppressed History of Our Nation's Beginnings and the Heroic Newspaper that Tried to Report It. New York: St Martin's, 1997.
Shankman, Andrew. Crucible of American Democracy: The Struggle to Fuse Egalitarianism and Capitalism in Jeffersonian Pennsylvania. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.
aurora borealis (bôr´ēăl´Ĭs) and aurora australis (ôstrā´lĬs), luminous display of various forms and colors seen in the night sky. The aurora borealis of the Northern Hemisphere is often called the northern lights, and the aurora australis of the Southern Hemisphere is known as the southern lights. Each is visible over an area centering around the geomagnetic pole of its own hemisphere. The aurora borealis is said to occur with greatest frequency along a line extending through N Norway, across central Hudson Bay, through Point Barrow, Alaska, and through N Siberia. It is often visible in Canada and the N United States and is seen most frequently at the time of the equinoxes; in times of extreme activity, it may be seen in parts of the S United States. Among the most magnificent of natural phenomena, auroral displays appear in shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet and are usually brightest in their most northern latitudes. The aurora is seen in a variety of forms, e.g., as patches of light, in the form of streamers, arcs, banks, rays, or resembling hanging draperies. The aurora occurs between 35 mi and 600 mi (56 km–970 km) above the earth. It is caused by high-speed electrons and protons from the sun, which are trapped in the Van Allen radiation belts high above the earth and then channeled toward the polar regions by the earth's magnetic field. These electrically charged particles enter the atmosphere and collide with air molecules (chiefly oxygen and nitrogen), thus exciting them to luminosity; near the 600-mile level, the light may be given off by electrons and protons combining to form hydrogen atoms. The auroras coincide with periods of greatest sunspot activity and with magnetic storms (disturbances of the ionosphere which interfere with long-distance radio communication). Much was learned about the aurora during the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year, when it was studied intensively by means of balloons, radar, rockets, and satellites. Other planets in the solar system also have auroras.
Aurora: Geography and Climate
Aurora: Population Profile
Aurora: Municipal Government
Aurora: Education and Research
Aurora: Health Care
Aurora: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1834 (incorporated 1845)
Head Official: Mayor Tom Wesiner (D) (since 2005)
2003 estimate: 162,184
Percent change, 1990–2000: 42.6%
U.S. rank in 1990: 201st (State rank: 3rd)
U.S. rank in 2000: 147th (State rank: 3rd)
Metropolitan Area Population
Percent change, 1990–2000: 11.1%
U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd
U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd
Area: 38.5 square miles (2000)
Elevation: Average 676 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 47.9° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 38.4 inches
Major Economic Sectors: manufacturing, retail, entertainment
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (February 2005)
Per Capita Income: $22,131 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported
Major Colleges and Universities: Aurora University, Waubonsee Community College
Daily Newspaper: The Beacon News
au·ro·ra / əˈrôrə; ôˈrôrə/ • n. (pl. au·ro·ras or au·ro·rae / ôˈrôrē/ ) 1. a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, usually near the northern or southern magnetic pole. 2. [in sing.] poetic/lit. the dawn. DERIVATIVES: au·ro·ral adj.
From the early 18th century, aurora has been used to designate a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, especially near the northern or southern magnetic pole. The effect is caused by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with atoms in the upper atmosphere. In northern and southern regions it is respectively called aurora borealis or northern lights and aurora australis or southern lights.