Reporting on the Battle of Lexington, 1775: Fake News and the Massachusetts Spy

May 3rd is an important date for both the American Antiquarian Society and the community of Worcester. On that date in 1775, Isaiah created the first object printed in this community: his newspaper the Massachusetts Spy. In this issue, he described the Battles of Lexington and Concord. While Thomas was present at those battles, his account is far from an objective one and in this video, I examine and provide some context to this document.

This is also one of the few objects in our collection for which we have a life-size paper facsimile, and we have often used this in our K-12 programming. Both teachers and their students have enjoyed being able to touch and read it as one might have in the eighteenth century. The Society has a number of digital resources for educators both related to this item and to many other aspects of American history and culture before the twentieth century.

These can be accessed here: https://www.americanantiquarian.org/k-12-resources.

Published by

James David Moran

Vice President for Programs and Outreach, AAS

One thought on “Reporting on the Battle of Lexington, 1775: Fake News and the Massachusetts Spy”

  1. Mr. Moran
    Love the society and enjoyed your talk.
    Have been to Concord several times on Patriots day. My understanding is the minute men were there to defend their homes and property from the British troops, remembering most of them were British as well. Is the portrayal accurate?
    In your closing comments you say, and this is paraphrased, “sometimes fake news is necessary” are you saying it’s okay to lie IF it’s necessary to get your desired results?
    And to answer your question, yes it appears they understood the situation and were willing to start a war to get their desired results.
    Sincerely
    Steve Benbow
    North Carolinian currently in Worcester

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