Online Primary Sources for American History: “National Intelligencer”

The National Intelligencer (and its variant titles) was a newspaper published in Washington, D.C. that became the de facto news organ of the federal government. Started in 1800 and supported by government printing contracts, the paper evolved into a tri-weekly and became one of the leading papers of the day. Its issues contained a great deal of information pertaining to the War of 1812; there are scattered issues of this important title on the Internet. However, we have found two substantial digital archives: the University of Texas has a run from 1805 – 1814, therefore covering most of the War of 1812 (N.B., the files are very large and slow to load); the University of Florida has some issues from 1811-1852. A brief history of the paper is here.

“… and so powerful was its [National Intelligencer] influence that when Gen. ROSS, in command of the British troops, entered the capital after the unfortunate affair of Bladensburgh, his first inquiry was not for the Capitol, the President’s house, or the departments, but for the National Intelligencer office, and it was the first establishment demolished, causing a short cessation in its regular publication. With this exception the Intelligencer has been published regularly for sixty years.” — Albany Evening Journal. [as published in The New York Times, July 25, 1860]

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