Newspapers -- Original Source Material -- Primary vs. Secondary?

While newspapers of today would generally be considered secondary source material, this was not the case during the 17th through 19th centuries. Previous to the 20th century and the technologies of radio, television, and certainly the internet, much public discourse occurred directly within newspapers.

It was not uncommon for newspapers to be created specifically to espouse the platforms and views of an individual or political party--often viewed by the public for the first time. To provide context for their readership it was common to publish responses by their contemporaries, including those with opposing views. This created a nice blend of both primary and secondary reporting, making newspapers the chosen arena for debate & providing unmatched context for determining how leaders' views of the day were interpreted.

Not only were newspapers the "king of media", they were the only media for much of American history.