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Hellmuth, Eckhart (2018): Towards Hume - the discourse on the liberty of the press in the age of Walpole. In: History of European Ideas, Vol. 44, No. 2: pp. 159-181
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Abstract

The liberty of the press became one of the main topics of public debate in the 1720s and 1730s in response to Walpole's restrictive press policy. This debate was carried on mainly in newspapers such as the Craftsman and the London Journal. Country and Court writers did not limit their discussions to legal questions, but conducted a lively debate about what press freedom actually was, and what role the press should have in political life. Among other things, they discussed to what extent it was appropriate for the press to take on an anti-governmental role. This debate is important, not least because it is a foil for one of the classical' eighteenth-century texts on the problem of press freedom, David Hume's essay Of the Liberty of the Press'. The debate reveals to what extent, and in what respects, Hume was breaking new ground in this essay.