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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2010

The Latin American Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford
The Latin American Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford OX2


This article examines the major role that newspapers played in Colombia, as central components of its political system, between 1830 and 1930. After some introductory remarks, the first section offers a general characterization of the Colombian press during the period, underlining its volatile existence, its national significance despite limited readership levels, and its overwhelming political nature in the hands of partisan editors. The second section analyses the political role of the press, by focusing on the crucial electoral functions performed by newspapers in launching candidates and providing them with platforms, serving as party organs, and measuring the amount of public support for candidates and parties. The article also explores the extent to which the press played a wider democratic role in supporting the suffrage, in instructing voters about rights and duties, and, by doing so, in forming an enduring sense of citizenship.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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An earlier version of this article was presented at various academic venues, including the Conference of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) in Washington; the regular Latin American Seminar at St Antony's College, Oxford; and a meeting at Imperial College London, organized by the network of Colombian students in the United Kingdom. I wish to thank Malcolm Deas and Gustavo Bell for their suggestions, and for giving me access to important documents. I also thank the two anonymous referees for their useful recommendations. I am very grateful to Clare Jackson for her valuable editorial advice and support. Translations from the original Spanish in this article are my own.


1 Alcides Arguedas, La danza de las sombras (Bogotá, 1983), pp. 48, 72–3, 83, and 164.

2 Carlos Lleras Restrepo, Borradores para una historia de la república liberal (Bogotá, 1975), p. 5.

3 Jeffrey L. Pasley, ‘The tyranny of printers’: newspaper politics in the early American Republic (Charlottesville, VA, and London, 2001), p. 3.

4 On the significance of elections in Colombian history and their competitive nature, see Deas, Malcolm, ‘Algunas notas sobre el caciquismo en Colombia’, Revista de Occidente, 127, (1973), pp. 118–40Google Scholar; Posada-Carbó, Eduardo, ‘Elections and civil wars in nineteenth-century Colombia: the 1875 presidential campaign’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 26, (1994), pp. 621–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Limits to power: elections under the Conservative hegemony in Colombia, 1886–1930’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 77, (1997), pp. 245–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 See, for example, Gustavo Otero Muñoz, Historia del periodismo en Colombia (Bogotá, 1936).

6 Bushnell, David, ‘The development of the press in Great Colombia’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 30, (1950), pp. 432–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 Pasley, ‘The tyranny of papers’; Bob Harris, Politics and the rise of the press. Britain and France, 1620–1800 (London, 1996); Jeremy D. Popkin, Press, revolution and social identities in France, 1830–1835 (Pennsylvania, PA, 2002); Paul Starr, The creation of the media: political origins of modern communications (New York, NY, 2004); Andrew W. Robertson, The language of democracy: political rhetoric in the United States and Britain, 1790–1900 (Charlottesville, VA, 1995); Darnton, Robert, ‘An early information society: news and the media in eighteenth-century Paris’, American Historical Review, 105, (2000), pp. 135CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 François-Xavier Guerra, Modernidad e independencias: ensayos sobre las revoluciones hispánicas (Madrid, 1992), chs. 7, 8.

9 Sábato, Hilda, ‘Citizenship, political participation and the formation of the public sphere in Buenos Aires, 1850–1880s’, Past and Present, 136, (1992), pp. 139–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Paula Alonso, ed., Construcciones impresas: panfletos, diarios y revistas en la formación de los estados nacionales en América Latina, 1820–1920 (Buenos Aires, 2003); Angel Soto, ed., Entre tintas y plumas: historias de la prensa chilena del siglo XIX (Santiago, 2004); and Iván Jaksić, ed., The political power of the word: press and oratory in nineteenth-century Latin America (London, 2002). For a recent overview of the period 1880–1930, see Eduardo Posada-Carbó, ‘Prensa y opinión pública’, chapter in Enrique Ayala and Eduardo Posada-Carbó, eds., Historia general de la América Latina; vii. Los proyectos nacionales latinoamericanos: sus instrumentos y articulación, 1870–1930 (9 vols., Paris, 2008), vii, pp. 469–86.

11 Of relevance to this article, see Earle, Rebecca, ‘Information and disinformation in late colonial New Granada’, The Americas, 54, (1997), pp. 167–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cano, Gilberto Loaiza, ‘El Neo-Granadino y la organización de hegemonías. Contribución a la historia del periodismo colombiano’, Historia Crítica, 18 (Bogotá, 1999), pp. 6586Google Scholar; Eduardo Posada-Carbó, ‘¿Libertad, libertinaje, tiranía? La prensa bajo el Olimpo Radical de Colombia, 1863–1885’, in Alonso, ed., Construcciones impresas, pp. 183–202; Alonso Valencia Llano, Luchas sociales y políticas del periodismo en el estado soberano del Cauca (Cali, 1994); Calderón, Jorge Conde, ‘Prensa, representaciones sociales y opinión pública en la Cartagena republicana, 1821–1853’, Debate y Perspectivas, 3, (2003), pp. 127–46Google Scholar.

12 The country first gained its independence in 1819, as part of a union with Venezuela and Ecuador, the Republic of Colombia (known by historians as Gran Colombia); it seceded from this union in 1830. To simplify the narrative, I have used the current name of Colombia throughout the text, but the country changed its name several times after independence. Following dismantling of Gran Colombia, the country adopted the following names: República de Nueva Granada (1830–58); Confederación Neogranadina (1858–63); Estados Unidos de Colombia (1863–86), and República de Colombia, to the present. Panamá was part of Colombia until 1903.

13 In the 1870s, for example, the Liberals split into Radicals and Independents. After 1885, under the presidency of Rafael Núñez some members of the Independent party (of which Núñez had been leader) returned to the Liberal party, while the rest joined a group of Conservatives to form the National party. In opposition to the latter, the remaining Conservatives adopted the name of Históricos. In 1909, Liberals and Conservatives formed a third party, the Republican Union. By 1920, all parties had regrouped around the Liberal and Conservative parties. The Socialist party and the Partido Socialista Revolucionario – the antecedents of the Communist party – were established in 1919 and 1927 respectively and their electoral involvement was largely insignificant during this period.

14 Regarding the sources of partisan alignments, see Helen Delpar, Red against blue: the liberal party in Colombian politics, 1863–1899 (University, AL, 1981), ch. 2; for early partisan formation, see Frank Safford and Marco Palacios, Colombia: fragmented land, divided society (Oxford, 2002), ch. 8.

15 While historians have often been quick to provide a list with the number of nineteenth-century civil wars, they have rarely offered an account of the electoral calendar. There were at least twenty-five national presidential elections between 1830 and 1930: an average of one every four years. In addition, there were regular elections for congress, local assemblies, and municipal councils (and regional authorities between 1853 and 1885), which often followed a separate electoral calendar.

16 According to Earle, the impact of the printed media in Colombia during the independence period was limited, in contrast to Mexico: ‘The role of the print in Spanish American wars of independence’, in Jaksić, ed., The political power of the word, pp. 9–33.

17 El Imperio de los Principios, Bogotá, 10 July 1836.

18 ‘Prospecto’, El Artesano, Bogotá, 22 May 1856.

19 Elisée Reclus, Viaje a la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta ([1869] Bogotá, 1947), p. 86. All translations from Spanish sources are mine.

20 Caleb, Walter, ‘The press of Mexico’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 3 (1920), p. 443Google Scholar. Historians have noted the presence of this feature in England, at least during the eighteenth century, when ‘many more papers failed than succeeded’; Harris, Politics and the rise of the press, p. 12. The most notable exceptions of a durable press in Latin America are the Chilean El Mercurio (first established in Valparaíso in 1827), and the Peruvian El Comercio (1839), which are still in circulation today. A list of additional long-lasting newspapers established in the nineteenth century should also include at least La Nación (Argentina, established in 1870), O Estado de Sao Paulo (Brazil, 1875), and El Día (Uruguay, 1886).

21 Starr, The creation of the media, pp. 5, 71.

22 La Bagatela, 1 Dec. 1811, in Antonio Nariño, La Bagatela, 1811–1812 (Bogotá, 1966).

23 Bushnell, ‘The development of the press in Great Colombia’.

24 On press censorship during those years, see Marco Palacios, Entre la legitimidad y la violencia: Colombia, 1875–1994 (Bogotá, 1995), pp. 48–9; and Delpar, Red against blue, pp. 143, 160. For references to the various press regulations between 1886 and 1910, see Charles Bergquist, Coffee and conflict in Colombia, 1886–1910 (Durham, NC, 1978), pp. 16, 37, 46, 67, 77–9, 121, 167–70.

25 Carlos Holguín, acting president during 1888–92, ‘suspended seven periodicals, fining twelve of them and three printers’; in Malcolm Deas, ‘Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador’, in Leslie Bethell, ed., The Cambridge history of Latin America, 1870–1930 (Cambridge, 1986), v, p. 645. On the opposition press, see Esther Parra Ramírez and Eduardo Guevara Cobos, eds., Periódicos santandereanos de oposición a la Regeneración, 1889–1899 (Bucaramanga, 2000). Even during the Regeneración, Colombia did not experience levels of press censorship endured by France in certain periods of the nineteenth century; see Irene Collins, The government and the newspaper press in France, 1814–1881 (Oxford, 1959). A sharper contrast is the repression of the press under the Rosas dictatorship (1829–52) in Argentina; see Jorge Myers, Orden y virtud: el discurso republicano en el régimen rosista (Buenos Aires, 1995), pp. 28–9.

26 Among other measures, the amendment included the introduction of direct presidential elections, the shortening of the presidential term from six to four years, the banning of immediate presidential election, and the adoption of the incomplete vote to guarantee minority representation. The latter was ratified by an electoral code in 1916. See Sebastián Mazzuca and James Robinson, A., ‘Political conflict and power sharing in the origins of modern Colombia’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 89, (2009), pp. 300–3Google Scholar.

27 For a historical overview underlining the tradition of a free press in Colombia, see Jorge Orlando Melo, ‘La libertad de prensa’, in Fernando Cepeda Ulloa, ed., Fortalezas de Colombia (Bogotá, 2004), pp. 67–86.

28 Miguel Cané, En viaje, 1881–1882 (Buenos Aires, reimpression, n.d.), pp. 145–6; Arguedas, La danza de las sombras, pp. 25 and 156. See also British Minister in Bogotá, ‘Colombia, annual report’, Bogotá, 26 Feb. 1921, The National Archives (TNA), London, FO371/5561.

29 Frank Safford, The ideal of the practical: Colombia's struggle to form a technical elite (Austin, TX, and London, 1976), pp. 49–79; and Loy, Jane Meyer, ‘Primary education during the Colombian federation: the school reform of 1870’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 51, (1971), pp. 275–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

30 Newland, Carlos, ‘The Estado Docente and its expansion: Spanish American elementary education, 1900–1950’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 26 (1994), p. 450CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

31 Aline Helg, La educación en Colombia: 1918–1957 (Bogotá, 2001), p. 35; Newland, ‘The Estado Docente’, p. 452.

32 For a comparative picture, see Victor Bulmer-Thomas, The economic history of Latin America since independence (Cambridge, 1994), p. 69.

33 The estimated Colombian population was: 1.2 million in 1825; 2.7 in 1870; 6.3 in 1918; and 7.8 million in 1928.

34 El Neogranadino, Bogotá, 11 Nov. 1848, quoted in Loaiza Cano, ‘El Neogranadino’, p. 83.

35 For examples, see El Zipa, Bogotá, 12 Sept. 1878.

36 Ali-Kelim, ‘Cartas al pueblo colombiano’, in La patria para el pueblo (Bogotá, 1877), p. 24.

37 Christopher Abel, Política, iglesia y partidos en Colombia (Bogotá, 1987), pp. 50–1.

38 T. Duncan, ‘La prensa política: Sud-América, 1884–1892’, in G. Ferrari and E. Gallo, eds., La Argentina del ochenta al centenario (Buenos Aires, 1980), p. 764.

39 Biblioteca Nacional, Catálogo de todos los periódicos que existen desde su fundación hasta el año de 1935, inclusive (2 vols., Bogotá, 1936).

40 This figure is an underestimate, since it excludes periodicals from some departments (states). See ‘Cuadros que expresan el número de periódicos que ven la luz pública en el país según los datos suministrados al Ministerio de Gobierno’, in Colombia, Memoria del Ministro de Gobierno al Congreso (Bogotá, 1925), pp. 226–45.

41 El Zipa, Bogotá, 7 Feb. 1878.

42 ‘The province was definitely organized: it had its own government … a print machine, two political parties and two beverages and food shops. The only missing thing was a newspaper’, expressed one of the characters in José María Vergara y Vergara's novel, Olivos y aceitunos: todos son unos (Bogotá, 1972; 1st edn 1868), pp. 22, 24.

43 J. Dunn, ‘Ownership, policies, etc., of Barranquilla newspapers’, Barranquilla, 19 June 1918, United States National Archives, Washington, State Department Records, RG59:821.911/1.

44 Such a decentralized structure was relatively similar to that of the nineteenth-century United States, where a ‘political communication system’ was developed ‘based on a large number of local, small circulation outlets, rather than a small number of national, large circulation outlets’; see Pasley, ‘The tyranny of printers’, p. 208.

45 La Patria. Periódico para el pueblo, Bogotá, 1 Jan. 1878.

46 Carolina Cherniavsky, ‘El Ferrocarril de Santiago (1855–1911): el “cuerpo” de un diario moderno’, in Soto, ed., Entre tintas y plumas, p. 90; and Duncan, ‘La prensa política’, p. 763. See also Alonso, Paula, ‘“En la primavera de la historia”: el discurso político del Roquismo de la década del ochenta a través de su prensa’, Boletín del Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana ‘Dr Emilio Ravignani’, 15 (1997), pp. 38Google Scholar, 42.

47 Dunn, ‘Ownership, policies, etc., of Barranquilla newspapers’.

48 Arguedas, La danza de las sombras, p. 163.

49 El Imperio de los Principios, Bogotá, 9 Oct. 1836.

50 See El Zipa's regular section ‘Ecos de la prensa’, Bogotá, 6 Dec. 1878. Looking at the early history of European newspapers, Starr refers to this practice as a ‘network phenomenon: Much of the content of individual papers consisted of news items taken from other papers’; The creation of the media, p. 33.

51 Although from an earlier period, a letter sent from Cartagena to the Papel Periódico's editor in 1791 is suggestive in claiming that ‘a single issue usually reaches more than a hundred of people, perhaps even to a third of the city’; quoted in Silva, ‘Prensa y opinion revolución’, p. 42. Regarding the ways in which eighteenth-century English newspapers ‘were carefully circulated among friends and families’, see Frank O‘Gorman, Voters, patrons and parties: the unreformed electorate of Hanoverian England, 1734–1832 (Oxford, 1989), p. 286. In nineteenth-century Chile, there was likewise a ‘widespread practice of passing papers from hand to hand’; see Iván Jaksić, ‘Sarmiento and the Chilean press, 1841–1851’, in Tulio Halperín-Donghi, et al., eds., Sarmiento: author of a nation (Berkeley, CA, 1994), p. 41.

52 El Neogranadino, 7 July 1849, quoted in Loaiza Cano, ‘El Neogranadino’, p. 83.

53 Alberto Lleras Camargo, Memorias (Bogotá, 1997), p. 52.

54 Reclus, Viaje, p. 87.

55 Cané, En viaje, pp. 145–6.

56 Guerra, Modernidad e independencias, p. 292; Brito Figueroa, Ezequiel Zamora (Caracas, 1951), p. 84; O‘Gorman, Voters, patrons and parties, p. 288.

57 See Conde Calderón, ‘Prensa, representaciones sociales y opinión pública’, pp. 133–4, and Malcolm Deas, Del poder y la gramática: y otros ensayos sobre historia política y literatura colombianas (Bogotá, 1993), p. 188. Referring to the late colonial period and early nineteenth century, Rebecca Earle has noted, however, that ‘there is surprisingly little evidence that printed works were routinely read aloud to reach larger audiences in New Granada, although they surely were’ (Earle, ‘Information and disinformation’, p. 169).

58 Regarding the ways that news spread among the popular sectors in eighteenth-century France, see Arlete Farge, Subversive words: public opinion in eighteenth-century France (Cambridge, 1994). On the impact of the printed word in societies that have not had much exposure to it, see Adrian Hastings, The construction of nationhood: ethnicity, religion and nationalism (Cambridge, 1997), p. 23. On the links between the printed and the oral modes of communication, see Darnton, ‘An early information society’, p. 30.

59 Phanor J. Eder, Colombia ([1913] London, 1921), p. 257. Born in Colombia of North American parents, Eder moved to the United States to pursue a successful career in law.

60 Eder, Colombia, p. 262.

61 Forced into exile in Chile, Sarmiento soon ‘developed a successful career’ writing for El Mercurio and El Progreso, among other Chilean newspapers. He was president of Argentina, in 1868–74. See his Recuerdos de Provincia (Buenos Aires, 1916), pp. 291–4; and Jaksić, ‘Sarmiento and the Chilean press’, pp. 42–9. Bartolomé Mitre, Argentine president (1862–8) founded La Nación in 1870; José Battle, president of Uruguay (1903–7; 1911–15) founded El Día in 1886. The Cuban patriot, José Martí (1853–95), deployed a lifetime of ‘prodigious journalistic efforts, which were to make him known throughout Latin America’. See Richard Butler Gray, José Martí, Cuban patriot (Gainesville, FL, 1962), pp. 3,12, 15.

62 José María Samper, Historia de una alma, 1834 a 1881 (2 vols., Bogotá, 1948), ii, pp. 43, 95, 112.

63 Despite their different social backgrounds, note some similarity with the career path of Miguel Antonio Caro: ‘Caro made his reputation through journalism and polemic … It was through his writings that he came to the notice of Rafael Núñez … Núñez gave him his first political appointment.’ Caro became Núñez's closest ally, and one of the leading architects of the Regeneración governments. He succeeded Núñez as president after the latter's death in 1894; see Deas, Malcolm, ‘Miguel Antonio Caro and friends: grammar and power in Colombia’, History Workshop, 34 (1992), p. 60Google Scholar.

64 Julio H. Palacio, Historia de mi vida (Bogotá, n.d.), p. 134.

65 ‘Colombia, annual report’ (1909 and 1912), TNA, FO371/875 and FO371/1350. Joseph Conrad's Nostromo (1904) offered a similarly erroneous impression: Martin Decoud, ‘the Journalist of Sulaco’, spoke of ‘his new and unexpected vocation, which in Costaguana was generally the speciality of half-educated negroes and wholly penniless lawyers’. Conrad, Nostromo (Oxford, 1992), pp. 157–8.

66 Díaz Hernández, ‘Palabras públicas, asuntos privados: la libertad moderna en El Telegrama, 1886–1897’ (dissertation ‘Magister en Historia’, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, 2009), pp. 20, 22.

67 According to an 1891 publication, there were ten organs of ‘foreign colonies’ in Mexico, including three newspapers published in English, two in French and one in German; see De Bopp, Marianne O., ‘El periodismo alemán en México’, Historia Mexicana, 9 (1960), p. 567Google Scholar.

68 Jorge Navarro Viola, Anuario de la prensa argentina, 1896 (Buenos Aires, 1897), p. 117.

69 The most notable exception was the Star and Herald, a bilingual (Spanish and English) periodical, originally established by US settlers in Panamá in the 1850s; other foreign language publications included El Constitutional, similarly a bilingual newspaper published in Bogotá in the 1820s, and The Shipping List, a commercial publication edited by the US consul in Barranquilla in the 1870s.

70 See Malcolm Deas, Vida y opiniones de Mr William Wills (2 vols., Bogotá, 1996); and Samper, Historia de una alma, ii, p. 95.

71 ‘Prospecto’, El Noticioso Libre, Cartagena, 1836.

72 El Neogranadino, Bogotá, 26 Feb. 1856.

73 El Artesano, 17 Mar. 1850. Artisans mobilized against the government's lowering of tariffs in the 1840s, whilst their involvement in the 1849 and 1853 presidential elections, and in the short-lived military coup of General Melo in 1854 was notable. Though generally in favour of protectionism, artisans were divided over other issues, such as the relations with the Catholic Church. The press that targeted artisans was thus politically varied. El Amigo de los Artesanos, for example, was a Conservative newspaper set up in 1849, aimed at an artisan audience (see David Sowell, The early Colombian labor movement: artisans and politics in Bogotá, 1832–1919 (Philadelphia, PA, 1992), pp. 35, 41, 73). Among this artisan press, it is possible to identify the antecedent of the ‘obrerista’ (working class) and socialist press that developed after 1920; see Mauricio Archila, ‘La otra opinión: la prensa obrera en Colombia 1920–1934’, Anuario colombiano de historia social y de la cultura, 13–14 (1985–6), pp. 209–37. For accounts by a contemporary union leader, see Torres Giraldo, Los inconformes: historia de la rebeldía de las masas en Colombia (5 vols., Bogotá, 1978), iii–iv.

74 El Artesano, Cartagena, 17 Mar. 1850.

75 David L. Sowell, ‘José Leocadio Camacho: artisan, editor, and political activist’, in Judith Ewell and William H. Beezley, eds., The human tradition: the nineteenth century (Wilmington, NC, 1989), p. 270.

76 Londoño, Patricia, ‘Las publicaciones periódicas dirigidas a la mujer’, Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico, 27, 23 (1990), p. 7Google Scholar.

77 Eder, Colombia, p. 257. See also Luis Striffler, El río Cesar: relación de su viaje a la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta en 1876 (Bogotá, 1986), p. 120; and Dunn, ‘Ownership, policies, etc., of Barranquilla newspapers’. Striffler was an Alsatian mining engineer who settled in northern Colombia in the 1840s.

78 El Tradicionista, Bogotá, 7 Nov. 1871, in Miguel A. Caro, Escritos políticos (4 vols., Bogotá, 1990), iii, pp. 18–22.

79 Rafael Núñez to Marceliano Vélez, Cartagena, 1 and 19 Sept. 1886, Correspondence from Núñez to Vélez, photocopies from private collection. I thank Gustavo Bell for giving me access to this valuable documentation.

80 La Linterna, Tunja, 12 Feb. and 21 May 1915, in Calibán (Enrique Santos), La danza de las hora y otro escritos (Bogotá, 1969), pp. 58–74.

81 El Porvenir, Cartagena, 1 June 1849, 25 Jan. and 5 Apr. 1850.

82 Carmen McEvoy, Homo politicus: Manuel Pardo, la política peruana y sus dilemas, 1871–1878 (Lima, 2007), p. 156; and Joel Silbey, The American political nation, 1838–1893 (Stanford, CA, 1991), p. 55.

83 Jaksić, ‘Sarmiento and the Chilean press’, pp. 35, 43.

84 Navarro Viola, Anuario de la prensa argentina, p. 2.

85 El Sentimiento Democrático, Cali, 16 Aug. 1849.

86 Ali-Kelim, La patria, p. 55.

87 See María Teresa Uribe and Jesús Alvarez, Cien años de prensa en Colombia, 1840–1940; catálogo indizado de la prensa existente en la Sala de Periódicos de Biblioteca Central de la Universidad de Antioquia (Medellín, 1985), pp. 74, 79, 103, 113, 122, 126, 137, 147, 179, 200, 208, 211, 224, 253, 258, 266, and Posada-Carbó, ‘Elections and civil wars’, p. 632 n. 43.

88 See, for example, Constitucional de Cundinamarca, 20 Mar., 8, 15, and 22 May, 5 and 12 June 1836.

89 ‘Manifestación del general José María Obando a sus conciudadanos’, Constitucional de Cartagena, 18 May 1836. This ‘Manifestación’ was widely published by the press throughout the country. It also circulated independently as a leaflet; Presidente futuro de la Nueva Granada (Bogotá, 1836).

90 See, for example, El Imperio de los Principios, Bogotá, 24 July, 14 Aug. 1836; El Constitucional de Antioquia, Medellín, 18 Dec. 1836; El Liberal, Tunja, 24 Oct. 1836; Constitucional de Cundinamarca, Bogotá, 20 Mar. and 19 June 1836. For a detailed analysis of this electoral campaign, see Eduardo Posada-Carbó, ‘Alternación y república: elecciones en la Nueva Granada y Venezuela, 1835–1836’, in Hilda Sábato, ed., Ciudadanía política y formación de las naciones: perspectivas históricas de América Latina (Mexico, 1999), pp. 162–80.

91 Silbey, The American political nation, pp. 46, 54–5, 59, 64, 87.

92 Neogranadino, Bogotá, 15 Mar. 1850.

93 José M. Samper, Los partidos en Colombia ([1873] Bogotá, 1984), p. 107.

94 Arguedas, La danza de las sombras, p. 71. For a detailed analyis of this election, see Posada-Carbó, Eduardo, ‘Las elecciones presidenciales de Colombia en 1930’, Revista de Estudios Sociales, 17, (2000), pp. 3547Google Scholar.

95 Constitucional de Antioquia, Medellín, 1 and 8 May 1836.

96 See, for example, ‘La cartilla del pueblo’, El Elector, 11 June 1864. The development of such ‘popular press’ originated earlier, although more systematic research along the lines of Andrew Robertson's work is needed in order to trace rhetorical changes more accurately. See Robertson's The language of democracy. In Venezuela, the emergence of a ‘popular press’ is identified with Antonio Leocadio Guzmán's El Venezolano, published in the 1840s; see José Gil Fortoul, Historica constitucional de Venezuela (2 vols., Berlin, 1909), ii, p. 184.

97 El Mago, Bogotá, 12 Dec. 1897. ‘Marroquín and Sanclemente/Went to have their portraits made/Since always the candidates/Like to show themselves to the people/Much better than naturally/But when looking at the mirror/Their respectable entrecejo [the space between the eyebrows]/With unequal surprise/They saw coming out of the glass/The portrait of another old man.’

98 ‘Nota de Soffia al Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores’, Bogotá, 30 Apr. 1882, in R. Donoso, ed., José Antonio Soffia en Bogotá (Bogotá, 1976), p. 44.

99 See Valencia Llano, Luchas sociales y políticas del periodismo, p. 68.

100 Posada-Carbó, ‘Elections and civil wars’, p. 632.

101 El Combate, 10 and 15 Apr. 1875.

102 El Republicano, Socorro, 19 Feb. 1875.

103 El Republicano, Socorro, 17 June 1875.

104 El Combate, 3 Apr. 1875.

105 See, for example, El Artesano, Bogotá, 6 Aug. 1856; and El Neogranadino, 22 Apr. 1865.

106 Silbey, The American political nation, p. 54.

107 Will Fowler, The Mexican press and the collapse of representative government during the presidential elections of 1828 (Institute of Latin American Studies: Research Paper 21, Liverpool, 1996); Thomas, Jack Ray, ‘The role of the press in the Chilean rebellion of 1851’, The Americas, 36, (1979), pp. 5978CrossRefGoogle Scholar. As Jeremy D. Popkin has noted in regard to Lyon, France, during the 1830s, the press had ‘a built-in element of instability’, but this should be judged against the other central role played by newspapers, as they also helped ‘to create a political culture that was capable of tolerating dissent’; Press, revolution and social identities in France, p. 265.

108 El Porvenir, Cartagena, 25 Dec. 1849, and El Neogranadino, Bogotá, 5 July 1850.

109 Neogranadino, Bogotá, 16 Aug. 1850.

110 Ali-Kelim, La patria, p. 59.

111 Donoso, ed., José Antonio Soffia, p. 44.

112 El Constitucional de Antioquia, Medellín, 12 June 1836.

113 El Tiempo, Bogotá, 23 Apr. 1956; El Neogranadino, Bogotá, 15 Apr. 1856; and El Artesano, Bogotá, 30 Aug. 1956.

114 El Repertorio, Bogotá, 19 Jan. 1856.

115 El Tiempo, Bogotá, 26 May 1856.

116 El Artesano, 15 June and 30 Aug. 1856.

117 El Tiempo, Bogotá, 15 July 1856.

118 El Neogranadino, Bogotá, 16 and 23 Sept. 1856.

119 El Tiempo, Bogotá, 28 Oct. 1856.

120 El Sentimiento Democrático, Cali, 26 July and 2 Aug. 1849.

121 J. Herrera, ‘Revista del periodismo colombiano’, La Patria, Bogotá, 1 Jan. 1878.

122 El Combate, Bogotá, 31 July 1875. ‘The swords are of no value/If shown to attack the law/Our shots will be more accurate/Supported by the law, severely/With a free vote to the ballot box.’

123 See, for example, Carlos Arturo Torres, ‘Por la doctrina’, El Nuevo Tiempo, 12 June 1902, in Torres, Obras (2 vols., Bogotá, 2001), i. Regarding the political culture among the intellectual and political elite of Bogotá after 1910, see Herbert Braun, The assassination of Gaitán: public life and urban violence in Colombia (Madison, WI, 1985), ch. 1, pp. 13–38.

124 ‘Excomunión laica’, El Tiempo, 22 Sept. 1916, in Eduardo Santos, Obras selectas (Bogotá, 1981), pp. 200–1.

125 ‘El problema de la abstención’, El Tiempo, 1 Feb. 1925, in Santos, Obras selectas, p. 314.

126 Of course this does not mean that there was a linear process. The language of the press turned to fierce sectarianism in the 1930s and 1940s; see Darío Acevedo, La mentalidad de las élites sobre la violencia en Colombia, 1936–1949 (Bogotá, 1995).

127 El Zipa, Bogotá, 6 Aug. 1877.

128 Starr, The creation of the media, p. 18.

129 El Tiempo, 22 June 1930, in Santos, Obras selectas, p. 610.

130 Pasley, ‘The tyranny of printers’, p. 17.

131 Luis E. Nieto Caballero, Escritos escogidos: periodismo y literatura colombianos (5 vols., Bogotá, 1984), iv, p. 20.

132 Epílogo: entrevista con François-Xavier Guerra’, interview in Debate y Perspectivas, 3 (2003), p. 197Google Scholar.

133 Farge, Subversive words.

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