Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette
Printed and published by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, this issue of the
Pennsylvania Gazette offers a glimpse into the cultural, economic, and
political lives of colonial Americans.
The Universal Instructor in All Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania
Gazette began printing in Philadelphia in 1728 under the ownership of
Samuel Keimer. One year later, a printer named Benjamin Franklin bought
the paper and shortened its name to the Pennsylvania Gazette. The
paper soon became the most prominent source of news and commentary of
the time period, publishing news articles, editorials, advertisements,
and letters throughout the colonial era.
During its run, the Pennsylvania Gazette featured many of Franklin’s own
writings as well as the full length texts of such important writings as
the Declaration of Independence , the Constitution, and Thomas
Payne’s Common Sense. The first political cartoon to appear in
America-entitled “Join, or Die” and created by Franklin himself-was also
published in the paper.
A man of many talents, Benjamin Franklin’s exploits as a Founding Father
and inventor are well-known. However, he considered himself first and
foremost a printer. As printer and publisher of the Pennsylvania
Gazette, Franklin has been credited as establishing a firm foundation
for a free and open American press. Contrary to prevailing notions of
the time, he strongly believed in printing all sides of a story,
including those deemed unpopular.