Social Media: The End or Start of a Golden Age?

In the late eighteenth century, advances in steam-powered presses and machine-made paper and ink made books affordable for the masses. Before that, a family might have a Bible, but only the clergy and aristocrats owned books. According to technology historian Cathy Davidson, the sudden flood of cheap, popular books alarmed preachers, teachers, parents, and our Founding Fathers. They feared that wild tales of anarchy and romance would corrupt girls and workmen; that "novels" would ruin democracy, cause youth to lose their ability to concentrate on serious subjects, and would forever corrupt American morals. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both wrote impassioned denunciations of the horrors of reading fiction.

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