E/MS Unit II

Activity 3: The Printed Word

How do students think seventeenth-century colonists received local news? How might they have learned about what was happening in England and the rest of Europe? Read the Mass Moment about the first newspaper in the colonies.

  1. Does it surprise students that a newspaper was not published until 60 years after the colony was established?
  2. Can it be explained by what they have learned about labor, tools, and machinery in early Massachusetts?
  3. Why did officials put a stop to the publication of Publick Occurrences?
  4. What might happen if there were freedom to print any news?

Divide the class into small groups; have each group read an excerpt from Publick Occurences and answer the questions at the end of the document. (Students can see an image of the original paper on the Massachusetts Historical Society website.)

Ask each group to report to the class on their reading.

  1. What do these passages tell us about the concerns of the colonists in 1690?
  2. How do the news items compare to what is covered in newspapers today?

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