Gossip and the Founding Fathers
In light of our recent podcast “Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing),” we heard from David Head, an assistant professor of history at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama:
I just listened to the podcast on gossip and as it happens my class on the early American republic will be reading the following article on political gossip for next week:
Joanne B. Freeman, “Slander, Poison, Whispers, and Fame: Jefferson’s ‘Anas’ and Political Gossip in the Early Republic,” Journal of the Early Republic, 15 (1995), 25-57.
Have you heard of it? Freeman shows that not only were the founders inveterate gossips but that gossip was crucial to the formation of political parties as like-minded founders, such as Jefferson and Madison, attempted to marshal support to protect themselves and the country from their enemies, such as Hamilton.
What fun it would have been to include this in our episode! Its thesis strengthens the point made in the podcast by Nick Denton of Gawker: