Spreading the News

Night had not yet descended over Philadelphia's State House when Printer Benjamin Towne's Pennsylvania Evening Post came streaming off the press with a terse announcement of the action: "This day the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES." Thus was the fact of independence first spread among colonial readers. By early this week the city's five other newspapers—a concentration that makes Philadelphia the publishing capital of the former colonies—had either reported the Declaration or were preparing stories on it. The Evening Post...