by Raffi Andonian
Benjamin Franklin Bache, grandson of Benjamin Franklin, lived a life devoted to fulfilling the ideals of republicanism. Although he had supported the ratification of the Constitution when it had circulated for debate at the different state conventions of 1787 and 1788, Bache’s interpretation of the newly-implemented Constitution in the 1790s was much more similar to that of those who had earlier opposed its ratification than to those who had previously advocated it.
Having started a newspaper in 1790 that covered a wide variety of subjects, he increasingly devoted that newspaper to politics. Bache condemned the Federalists who were in power in the 1790s, especially denouncing the first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, for their Federalist policies. However, Bache never considered himself as a partisan; in his view, he was fairly exposing the wrongs of those who were running the government, for it was integral for the citizens of a republic to be educated about their government – he was being a republican citizen of virtue and of public service. Throughout his life, as can be clearly seen in the newspaper for which he was editor, Bache championed the rights of the citizens of a republic (much akin to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine) rather than those who governed a republic. Whereas many of his opponents of the 1790s had departed from the ideals of the American Revolution of 1776, Benjamin Franklin Bache always stayed true to them.
Born on 12 August 1769, Bache was soon taken under the mentorship of his famous grandfather, Benjamin Franklin. In 1776, when Franklin went on a nine-year diplomatic mission to France, he took the seven-year-old Bache with him so that the child would get an enlightened education. Franklin then enrolled Bache in Le Coeur boarding school in Passy, a suburb of Paris – during this time, Franklin also arranged for the boy to meet Voltaire. By 1779, Franklin sent young Bache with Philibert Cramer, a diplomat from Geneva and the publisher of Voltaire, in order to continue his education in Geneva, Switzerland. For four years, while living with the poet Gabriel Louis Galissard de Marignac who also tutored the young boy, Bache studied at the college founded by John Calvin. During Bache’s years in Switzerland, those with whom he was closest noticed his calm demeanor, his ability to observe methodically, his reasonable thought process,and his sense for justice. After the Englishman Robert Pigott reported to Franklin that the academy that Bache was attending in Geneva had been struck by poverty, Franklin had Bache return to Passy in 1783. Since Franklin was still involved with printing, he began to train his grandson in printing and type-founding so that Bache could learn a useful trade.
In 1785, Franklin and Bache returned to Philadelphia. Bache enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1787. He then became Franklin’s partner in opening a type-founding business, which ultimately failed. Still, through that experience, Bache received valuable experience managing a printing-house in his late teens, since Franklin considered himself too old to do the job himself. Bache also tried to publish and sell books to schools, which also had little success, so he helped Benjamin Franklin with his Autobiography. Having grown so close to and having learned so much from Franklin, Bache was devastated when his mentor-grandfather died in 1790. It was not surprising that Bache would be so heavily influenced by the ideals of his grandfather, the symbol of the American Enlightenment.
General Advertiser 1790.sid (p. 1)
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The Newspaper Editor
Bache considered his most valuable inheritance from Franklin to be his printing supplies and equipment. Believing that newspapers existed to educate citizens, he established The General Advertiser, and Political, Commercial, Agricultural and Literary Journal, which was to be published six days a week out of Philadelphia. The first issue of The General Advertiser on 2 October 1790 stated its mission clearly to its 400 subscribers:
The Freedom of the Press is the Bulwark of Liberty. An impartial Newspaper is the useful offspring of that Freedom. Its object is to inform. In a Commonwealth, the PEOPLE are the Basis on which all power and authority rest. On the extent of their knowledge and information the solidity of that Foundation depends. If the PEOPLE are enlightened the Nation stands and flourishes; thro’ ignorance it falls or degenerates. These principles the Editor holds as just and fundamental. He will use his utmost endeavours to make his conduct conformable to them.(1)
Bache had started the newspaper “without a keen sense of political or ideological purpose.”(2)
In fact, Bache thought that “more attention should be paid to the Sciences, Literature in general, and more particularly to the Useful Arts.”
He “lamented that greater pains have not hitherto been taken to diffuse among the mass of citizens more knowledge of this kind.”(3)
Still, Bache was not going to ignore politics, but rather was going to cover anything concerning “the public good” with the “strictest impartiality.”(4)
Within its first year of publishing, Bache’s newspaper became increasingly focused on politics. By 1 January 1791, it dropped “Agricultural” from its title; by 16 August 1791, it dropped “Political, Commercial and Literary Journal” from its title as well. Bache’s newspaper was now entitled simply The General Advertiser. The newspaper had originally started by presenting informative essays and Enlightenment thought, but with its more political focus, The General Advertiser began to gradually reflect its editor’s republican ideals. Also obvious was Bache’s diminishing hopes of the United States as a republican nation. “He gradually came to realize two things: that America’s elite was not going to establish the complete sovereignty of the people, and that public servants, particularly [George] Washington, were willing to ignore the popular majority and initiate policies which differentiated rather than united society.”(5)
Hence, in enlightening the public through his newspaper about his disappointments, his paper would appear to favor the Jeffersonian Republicans and denounce the Federalists in a partisan manner. Yet, to simply label Bache as a “partisan” is misguided; he had originally supported George Washington and his administration. Among other praises of the American government, on 27 October 1791, The General Advertiser read: “A confidence in the administration of this government pervades all classes and denominations of men.”(6) Had Bache been simply a partisan blinded by a political affiliation, he would not have seen so much positive in a Federalist administration. Bache, therefore, could attack Washington and his allies and yet still legitimately claim to be unpartisan. He was enlightening the public.
In Bache’s ideals of enlightened republicanism, the public had to constantly check those who governed them. However, in order for informed participation and reasonable analysis, the people had to be educated and aware. On 3 May 1792,
The General Advertiser claimed that those in support of the administration unquestioningly assumed “that a government established by the people must ever act for the best good of the people… Such doctrine is near kin to the old doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance.”(7)
Those in office must be questioned and criticized, Bache believed. Newspapers were crucial in circulating such news to the public, so that the citizens might be aware of government's proceedings. Bache felt that it was his republican responsibility to expose the failures of those in office.”(8)
Integral to Washington’s policies during his presidency were the suggestions of Alexander Hamilton – Bache held mixed feelings about these suggestions. He considered public credit to be beneficial, although within a few years he would consider it an evil. He also agreed with Hamilton in the development of manufacturing, thereby making the United States more able to stand by itself. However, there were many of Hamilton’s policies with which Bache disagreed. Bache favored free trade more than Hamilton. Unlike Hamilton, he did not favor economic privileges; Bache’s egalitarian republican ideals did not condone economic incentives and protection for certain commercial ventures. Most of all, however, Bache disagreed with Hamilton on the role that farming should play in the new nation. Hamilton favored a national economy based on industry with farms supporting it, while Bache preferred the opposite. Republicanism believed in an agrarian nation for the maintenance of wealth, virtue, and growth; industry corrupted the citizenry and reduced workers to the whim of the factory-owner. Bache even pointed out Benjamin Franklin’s disgust of the working conditions at factories in England. Bache was thus troubled by the thought of Washington following Hamilton’s plan.
With his newspaper covering politics so closely, Bache once again changed its name. The General Advertiser became the Aurora and General Advertiser on 8 November 1794; it commonly became known simply as the Aurora. The editor made known the reason for the name change through his renewed mission statement: “The Aurora, as far as the Editor’s exertions extend, shall diffuse light within the sphere of its influence; – dispel the shades of ignorance, and gloom of error and thus tend to strengthen the fair fabric of freedom on its surest foundation, publicity and information.”
Even with this obvious focus on politics, Bache still promised, “Impartiality and independence shall still be characteristics” of his newspaper.(9) He would continue to educate the public on the behavior of those in office.
On George Washington
With Washington following Hamilton’s vision of the nation, Bache felt the republicanism that he envisioned for the nation was greatly threatened. Despite having previously supported the ratification of the Constitution, he began to doubt the American political system itself. On 29 January 1795, the Aurora stated, “The American Constitution is said to resemble the fabled constitution of Great Britain; it must, then, have monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy blended with it: Each of these three forms of government is said to contain imperfections; – how then can it be expected that a composition of imperfection can constitute perfection?” The three were “incompatible principles,” he pointed out, and one would have to conquer the other two – the one that did, would be the most powerful one of the three. Bache then asked, “Was it wisdom that planned a government containing within its own bosom the elements of eternal discord? Or was it designed, that the people might become weary of their condition and at length call out for a king?”(10) Still, in spite of such pessimistic deliberation by Bache, it was not the norm. He was chiefly opposed to those who were running the government rather than the government system itself.
The Senate’s ratification of the Jay Treaty on 24 June 1795 was a major stepping stone in the intensity of Bache’s opposition to George Washington and the Federalists. The treaty created a public debt that benefited a few creditors in the United States by tying them to the British commercial system. This was unacceptable to Bache, who saw the treaty as restricting American independence and also favoring a few wealthy creditors.
The Aurora of 8 September 1795 wrote that, by approving the Jay Treaty, the President “gives weight” to the “pretensions” of the “merchants and traders” by “recognizing them as a privileged class.”(11) But Bache’s opposition to the Jay Treaty went even further.
Like most Jeffersonian Republicans, Bache supported the French Revolution because he viewed it as a part of a revolution by mankind for liberty. With the Jay Treaty, “America realigned with a despotic rather than a republican state.”(12)
Bache, like many Jeffersonian Republicans, believed that much of the support for Washington and his Federalist policies came only because of Washington’s reputation from the American Revolution. The editor of the Aurora was not affected by Washington’s prior accomplishments; he kept focused on Washington’s current actions, analyzing his policies on their own, rather than for their source. Bache began to launch a blistering attack on Washington after the Jay Treaty, especially since it came after Washington had already supported Hamiltonian financial policies, prohibited Democratic-Republican societies since they opposed the Federalists, used the military during the Whiskey Rebellion, encouraged the aristocratic
Society of Cincinnati, and overdrawn his salary from the Treasury. When Washington gave his farewell address during the end of his presidency, Bache was surprised at its language of republicanism.
But an editorial quickly berated:
Profession costs nothing and it will be remembered that the present administration has been an administration of profession only; the profession of republicanism, but the practice of monarchy and aristocracy… the profession of affection for the Constitution, but an enmity to it so great as to have rendered it a mere nose of wax; the profession of an interest in the people’s rights, but a refusal to let the people be made acquainted with the transactions of a government emanating from themselves, in a word, the profession of honor, justice, candor, dignity and good faith, when dishonor, injustice, treachery, meanness and perfidy have given hue to our public proceedings.(13)
To be sure, Washington despised Bache and the “Bachite Republicans” in his personal letters until the end of his life.(14)
The attack on George Washington by Bache went even further. In 1797, Bache published a pamphlet entitled Remarks Occasioned by the Late Conduct of Mr. Washington. In that pamphlet, Bache stated, “[Washington was] A Virginia planter, by no means that most eminent, a militia-officer ignorant of war both in theory and useful practice, and a politician certainly not of the first magnitude… He is but a man, and certainly not a great man.”(15)
Bache thought of Washington as “dull, uninspiring, and wedded to authority, order, and pomp.”(16) Bache’s disapproval of Washington as President was so strong that Bache began to question the executive position altogether. He objected to one person as the executive and instead suggested a “plural directory” that would be “gradually renewed.” This way, “the executive government would no longer exhibit the fluctuating character of an individual, but approach nearer to the fixed abstract of the American nation.”
In the pamphlet, Bache stated that there were two lessons that history taught: “the one is, never to let those who govern have a separate interest from those who are governed; and the other never to trust too much power in the hands of a single man, and especially not one of the public choice.”(17)
When George Washington decided that he would not run for reelection in 1796, and that the Vice President of his administration John Adams would run instead, the Aurora approved. It claimed that Washington avoided running for a third term “from a consciousness that he would not be re-elected” and “to save himself the mortification and disgrace of being superceded.” Although the man Washington chose to run in his stead was a “professed aristocrat[,]… it is well known that Adams is an Aristocrat only in theory, but that Washington is one in practice – that Adams has the simplicity of a republican but that Washington has the ostentation of an eastern bashaw.” Additionally, the Aurora believed Adams to be an independent thinker, rather than a man controlled by party. There was “no doubt that Adams would not be a puppet.” The Aurora was confident that there should be “no hesitation on the minds of republicans to which of the two to give the preference.”(18) Clearly, Adams was preferable to Washington, according to the Aurora.
The election of 1796, however, was not between George Washington and John Adams, but rather it was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Although the Aurora preferred Jefferson to Adams, it spent much of its efforts supporting Jefferson rather than launching a brutal attack on Adams; it promoted Jefferson, but did not denounce Adams outside of a few criticisms. Therefore, when Jefferson lost the election to Adams, Bache did not feel outraged and afraid for the republic. Bache viewed himself as independent of party, and hence believed in giving each political leader an opportunity to act out his policies: Adams would receive a “fair trial.”(19)
On John Adams
Once Adams gave his inauguration speech, Bache began to praise the new President. “The leading features of the President’s speech are patriotism and conciliation [from the late party warfare],” the Aurora observed. Adams would be able “to soothe the irritated public mind and to harmonize the different parties.”(20)
Bache was glad that the speech provided “candid and decent respect to the legislatures of the individual states.” But most importantly, the speech was an “address of a fellow citizen, who will not deign to become the President of a Party, but the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”(21)
Adams was “the enemy of party” with “a will and an understanding of his own”(22)
who would “not be the tool of any man or set of men”(23)
and therefore was going to serve as “the president of the people, and not of a party.”(24)
Bache also kept in mind that Thomas Jefferson was going to serve as Vice President as a result of his second-place finish in the election of 1796. “Upon the whole,” announced the Aurora, “America has a right to rejoice in the prospect she has of a wise and virtuous administration under two such distinguished patriots as Adams and Jefferson.”(25)
Bache was glad to see that Adams had called a special session of Congress in May of 1797, for he believed it showed the willingness of the President to “consult the wishes of the people.”(26)
Adams was consulting Congress rather than the Cabinet; he was consulting the elected rather than the appointed. The Aurora supportively printed, “When he wishes for counsel in high matters he looks to popular representation for it, rather than to an official council.” It was a clear sign that Adams had a “profound judgment of his own.”(27)
But once President Adams gave his “war speech”(28) to the special session of Congress, Bache lost his good faith in the reconciliatory power of Adams in the nation. In response to French raids on American ships after the British-favoring Jay Treaty, Adams had called for the construction of three frigates, the arming of merchant ships, the reinforcement of the militia, and the formation of a provisional army (in case the United States entered a war with France).
Adams was ignoring “depredations”(29) to American shipping by the British but was condemning the French for their raids. The “president by three votes” (Adams had won the presidency by just three electoral votes in the election of 1796 [more on the electoral process before the 12th Amendment]) had “completely deceived the people, who were led by his inauguration speech and other circumstances to believe, that he was of no party, and that he was under no extraneous influence.”
But in his speech to the special session of Congress, Adams had “thrown aside the masque” and hence the public was now able to see him “propria persona.”(30) Bache was greatly discouraged:
“We do believe, that the glorious spirit that freed this country from the British shackles has too much slumbered of late.”(31)
During the XYZ Affair, Bache’s disapproval of Adams continued. Adams had announced on 31 May 1797 that he would send a three-man commission to France to work out a diplomatic solution. The three men Adams picked were all very strong Federalists (and therefore Anglophiles and Francophobes), and of course Bache understood this as another step taken by Adams to promote the outbreak of war with France. The Aurora fearfully asked on 2 June 1797, “Can it be supposed that success will attend this negotiation when the persons who are nominated, will carry with them the temper of a British faction, instead of the temper and sensibility of the people of the United States?”
Bache’s newspaper attacked: “Disguise it as they will the disposition of the presidential party is for war, and if they can effect it by such means as will deceive the people, war we shall have.”(32)
As it turned out, the three-man commission (when one of the originally nominated three men declined to serve, he was replaced by a man considered politically neutral) sent by Adams was rejected by the French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand – in letters regarding the terms of receiving the three-man commission, the three men would be referred-to as the X, Y, and Z; hence the term XYZ Affair. The commission dissolved, and the three-man commission was never received. Adams had acted with the “temper of a man divested of his reason, and wholly under the dominion of his passions.”(33)
With the increasing shrillness of the press and polarization of the two political factions, in May of 1798, Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, commented about Bache in a letter to her sister: “If that fellow & his Agents Chronical, and all is not surpressed, we shall come to a civil war.”(34)
One month later, in June of 1798, just ten days after the Aurora had published the letter from French foreign minister Talleyrand concerning the XYZ Affair, Bache was under arrest by the federal government under the Sedition Act – although the Sedition Act had still not passed through Congress at this point in June, it would soon pass and be signed by President Adams on July 14. The Sedition Act made illegal anything that the federal government arbitrarily deemed “false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States.” With the French Revolution taking place, and with so many republicans supporting it, this was a time when those in political power had a serious fear of revolution within their own country.
The Sedition Act was a piece of legislation that the Federalists propelled through Congress for “the suppression of the Whig presses,” as Vice President Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison on 26 April 1798, and “Bache’s [newspaper] has been particularly named.”(35)
Not surprisingly, Representative John Allen of Connecticut, launched a blistering attack against the Aurora on the Congressional floor, stating that its purpose was “to overturn and ruin the Government by publishing the most shameless falsehoods against the Representatives of the people of all denominations.”
Allen went still further by claiming that “a conspiracy against the Constitution, the Government, the peace and safety of this country, is formed, and is in full operation.”(36)
As a result, on 27 June 1798, the Aurora reported, “The Editor of the Aurora was yesterday arrested… on the charge of libeling the President & the Executive Government, in a manner tending to excite sedition and opposition to the laws, by sundry publication and re-publications.”(37)
Bache had been arrested before the Sedition Act even made it through the legal process, thus showing just how much the legislation was meant to target him even more so than other opposition press. On 29 June 1798, Bache was released on $4000 bail with a trial scheduled for October.
Despite having just been prosecuted by the law for publishing against the government, Bache steadfastly returned from jail and spent the summer continuing to criticize that very government that had prosecuted him by attacking the Sedition Act through the Aurora. “Prosecution no more than persecution” could keep this devout patriot from fighting for “the cause of truth and republicanism.”(38)
He protested the fact that “printers are subjected to prosecution for every sentence in their papers which the eye of a jealous government can torture into an offence.”(39)
He condemned the Federalist faction for this usurpation: “What is a faction? It is any number of men, in or out of office, eager to obtain or maintain themselves in power, in direct violation of the laws or Constitution or in opposition to the interests of a nation.”(40) Most of all, Bache emphasized the Sedition Act’s violation of the Constitution:
The Constitution of the United States says that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,” but Congress have passed a law abridging the freedom of the press and therefore the Constitution infracted. Quere, of what efficacy is a law made in direct contravention of the Constitution?(41)
Bache could not perceive “any alternative between an abandonment of the constitution and resistance.”(42) He justified his position as such:
One of the first rights of a freeman is to speak or to publish his sentiments; if any government founded upon the will of the people passes any ordinance to abridge this right, it is as much a crime as if the people were, in an unconstitutional way, to curtail the government of one of the powers delegated to it. Were the people to do this, would it not be called anarchy? What name shall then be given to an unconstitutional exercise of power over the people? In Turkey the voice of government is the law, and there it is called despotism. Here the voice of government is likewise the law and here it is called liberty.(43)
Bache went still further:
We perfectly agree with Noah Webster, when he declares, “That moment in which the regular authorities cease to govern, that moment the principles of our constitution are prostrated, and we are slaves.” – and when these regular authorities stretch the power delegated them by the people we would ask, what becomes of the principles of the constitution – and what are we then?(44)
One very noteworthy difference between the opposition of Bache toward the Sedition Act and the opposition of other republicans toward the Sedition Act was the very basis for that opposition. For example, Vice President Thomas Jefferson, through the Kentucky Resolutions, argued against the Sedition Act based primarily on the principles of state sovereignty. That is, Jefferson thought the Sedition Act to be an overstepping of federal powers over state powers. In Jefferson’s view, the First Amendment was in the federal Constitution and therefore applied only to the federal government, not to the individual state governments – in other words, a state government could pass a bill similar to the Sedition Act as long as it did not violate that state’s constitution. In the Kentucky Resolutions [p.1/p.2/p.3/p.4], the argument made by Jefferson for the principle of free speech was only secondary to that of state sovereignty. Benjamin Bache, on the other hand, opposed the Sedition Act by emphasizing the natural right of the people to have a free press unabridged by any government – Bache was opposing it on more libertarian grounds. The historian James Tagg explained it in the following manner: “The Sedition Act was an ill wrought piece of legislation that ignored the idea of a legitimate opposition and naively assumed that truth was an absolute that could be teased out of even political disagreements of opinion… [The Sedition Act] created an ugly atmosphere of political persecution.”(45)
Bache’s Final Days
Bache, however, would never make it to his trial in October. He died on 10 September 1798, aged just twenty-nine years, from the fifth yellow fever outbreak of the 1790s – the Aurora would be subsequently be edited by his wife Margaret Bache, and shortly thereafter by William Duane until 1822. Bache’s wife justifiably considered his death to be “the loss of a man inflexible in virtue, unappalled by power or persecution.”(46)
Bache was an extremely uncompromising man of principle who held a “magnanimous moral core for the American republic which associated virtue with utility of reason and reason with a passion for justice.” The historian Jeffery Smith thought that “while the Federalists tended to approve of hierarchy and privilege in achieving harmony and well-being, the Republicans generally were striving for more equality and more favorable circumstances for personal advancement.”(47)
Within this context, Bache valued education above all – both education through school and education of the citizens of a republic through newspapers. Hence, in his will, written just three days before his death, Bache’s wish to his wife was simple: that their “dear Children [receive] a suitable and enlightened Education, such as shall be worthy of us, and advantageous to themselves and render them virtuous, generous, and attached to the immutable principles of Civil Liberty.”(48)
In fact, Thomas Jefferson himself recognized Bache as a man “of abilities, and of principles the most friendly to liberty and our present form of government.”(49)
Indeed, Bache was a man for liberty. It would be erroneous to classify Bache as a radical partisan, as most of historiography has done.(50) Despite becoming the premier newspaper in the nation for the voice of the Jeffersonian Republicans, he in fact was the independent publisher he always claimed to be. For example, he approved some of the fervently-Federalist Alexander Hamilton’s policies during the George Washington administration, and even initially approved of Washington himself. More telling, however, is the fact that Bache actually approved of the new president John Adams (whom he had previously opposed) at the beginning of his term despite the fact that he was the hand-chosen successor by George Washington, whom Bache greatly despised by that point. Bache did not blindly attack Adams for being a Federalist, but rather gave him an opportunity to show the character of his politics. Bache began to dislike the presidency of Adams only after the President began to present ideals and policies of which he disapproved.
Bache was a man influenced by thought from the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, and he believed it his duty to educate the public about any policies that may infringe on their natural rights, regardless of who was in office. He did not attack parties; he attacked policies – policies that he understandably believed were unjust, elitist, and infringing. Bache believed intensely in liberty; thus he was a libertarian, as can be seen through his zealous support of the free press based primarily on the natural rights of a free people rather than the Constitution itself. Certainly he used the Constitution to help justify his argument against the Sedition Act, but the root of his objection came from a deeper principle of liberty, not a government document that could be altered (this is why he could support liberty in all nations, such as he did for France, since he believed liberty to be a natural right, not a right derived from the United States Constitution per se). For Bache, the Constitution was merely the tool by which liberty was implemented in the United States, but it was not the basis for liberty in the United States.
Bache consistently opposed those who he believed had disconnected from the original ideals of the American Revolution - his perspective was indeed understandable. However, despite much adversity, Bache himself never wavered from the American Revolutionary ideals.
- Federalists (Those who favored a strong national government.)
- Jay Treaty
- Whiskey Rebellion
- Society of Cincinnati
- XYZ Affair
- Alien and Sedition Acts
- Kentucky and Virginia Resolves
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Rosenfeld, Richard N. American Aurora: A Democratic-Republican Returns. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Scherr, Arthur. “Inventing the Patriot President: Bache’s Aurora and John Adams. ”Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1995 119 (4): 369-399.
Smith, James Morton. Freedom’s Fretters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1956.
Smith, Jeffery A. “The Enlightenment Education of Benjamin Franklin Bache. ”Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1988 112 (4): 483-501.
Smith, Jeffery A. Franklin and Bache: Envisioning the Enlightened Republic. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Smith, Jeffery A. Printers and Press Freedom: The Ideology of Early American Journalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Stewart, Donald H. The Opposition Press of the Federalist Period. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1969.
Tagg, James. Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia Aurora. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.
Tagg, James D. “The Limits of Republicanism: The Reverend Charles Nisbet, Benjamin Franklin Bache, and the French Revolution.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1988 112 (4), 503-543.