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This Day in Boston History

September 25th, 1690

First Newspaper in America

On this day Bostonians awoke to find their city home to America's first newspaper. "Publick Occurrences, both Foreign and Domestick" promised to return "once a month, or if any glut of occurrences happen, oftener."

The paper was published by Benjamin Harris, who had been jailed in London for publishing seditious works. The Massachusetts establishment was no fonder of his labors, particularily his lurid account of King Louis XIV's romantic indescretions. It took only four days from his first paper's release for Harris to banned from publishing again in Massachusetts.

It would be another fourteen years before a newspaper was undertaken again in the colonies. In 1704 John Campbell published the Boston News-Letter, America's second newspaper.


England's Prime Minister never expected this tea tax to cause an outcry, let alone revolution. In 1767, England reduced its property taxes at home. To balance the national budget they needed to find a mechanism for the American colonies to pay for the expense of stationing officials in them. The officials would generate their own revenue by collecting taxes on all imported goods, and once paid affixing stamps on them. This Stamp Tax generated more in the way of protests and smuggling than added revenue.

Religion. Politics. Rebellion. Boston’s pedigree was forged back in England in the midst of religious dissension, where Puritans and Pilgrims sought religious reform, and Cavaliers and Roundheads vied for political power. The question isn't where did Boston get its name – but how.

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