The wager of this essay is that consideration of an antiquarian media environment—the American colonies in the era of Revolutionary ferment—can help identify tactics for slowing the communications juggernaut that threatens to overwhelm public political discussion. In contrast to accounts that emphasize the speed of propaganda, political operatives in America loyal to the Crown deliberately sought to slow the flow of information, including the stream of satire, rumor, and diatribe that inevitably accompanied it. Broadsides, pamphlets, and poems written in reaction to what Loyalists called the “American rebellion” provide an occasion for assessing what can be done, specifically at the level of discourse, to offset flows of radical publicity.

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