Naar, David

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NAAR, DAVID (1800–1880), U.S. politician, journalist, and public servant. Naar, who was born in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (now Virgin Islands), was sent to Manhattanville, New York, at the age of 15 to be educated. He spent about five years there. Because of Black insurrections in the Caribbean and the decline of trade, his family moved to New York City in 1834 and continued their tobacco importing and exporting business. In 1838 Naar purchased a farm near Elizabeth, New Jersey, became active in politics as a Democrat, and was rewarded politically with an appointment as lay judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was appointed mayor of Elizabeth in 1849. In 1844 he was a delegate to the state constitutional convention where he vigorously and successfully advocated giving Roman Catholics the right to vote and hold office. President James K. Polk appointed him as commercial agent of the United States to St. Thomas (1845–48). Naar moved to Trenton in 1853 and bought the Daily True American which he edited until 1870. His nephew and son then edited the paper until 1905. The newspaper, which became a very influential factor in the Democratic Party, espoused the cause of the South, favored (at first) secession and states' rights, and was pro-slavery. Naar was attacked by his Republican opponents as "a West Indian Jew" and other epithets. Naar served as treasurer of New Jersey and a member of the Trenton Common Council. He favored free public school education, free public libraries, and was one of the founders of the Normal School for Teachers (now the College of New Jersey).


Kohn, in: ajhsq, 53 (1964), 372–95.

[S. Joshua Kohn]