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Melvin C. Laracey
University of Texas, San Antonio (San Antonio, TX 78249-1644)
Promoting Democracy: Mass Political Communication during the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson

This project is a case study of how Thomas Jefferson's presidential newspaper, the National Intelligencer, promoted not just Jefferson and his administration, but also broad principles of democratic philosophy, constitutionalism, political identity, and nation-state formation. By examining the content of every issue of the paper during Jefferson's administration (three issues per week, or about 1250 issues in total), this study will provide a unique guide to the concerns and principles of Jefferson and his party, as evidenced contemporaneously in the pages of the newspaper that was widely regarded to reflect his views. It will also analyze, from the perspectives of current presidential studies scholarship and modern critical theory, what this episode in American political history indicates generally about how political leaders build and maintain power by constructing and promoting favorable government institutions and citizen understandings.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Government

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2011 – 6/30/2012