Brown, Mellen, and a Class Discussion

The first thing that I would like to talk about this week is how insightful and helpful the discussion was this week to fully flesh out the influence of paper and printing on the spread of communication, particularly in the United States. Within that, the class also discussed how to think critically about sources and how to synthesize, analyze, and criticize the sources that we use in this class and beyond.

On the readings themselves, Brown’s history and analysis of information diffusion in the English colonies states that,“The initial purpose and function of printing in the colonies was…to reinforce the top-down model of information diffusion that was characteristic of 17-18th century societies”(Brown, 40). He goes on, however, to explain the effect of the Glorious Revolution in Great Britain on free speech in the British colonies, and that free speech and the increased literacy and education led to the spread of revolutionary ideas. Mellen gives even more context to the American Revolution, delving into early papermaking methods and the shortage of paper in the British colonies. The invention of wood pulp paper and the political tensions demanding more free speech in Great Britain aligned in a way that propelled the revolution. These two secondary sources and their research contribute to a larger conceptual idea of the causes of the American Revolution, a subject that drives our conversation of the Information Age in this class.

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