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Alabama state intelligencer. [volume] : (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) 1829-183?
Alternative Titles:
  • Intelligencer
  • State intelligencer
Place of publication:
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Geographic coverage:
  • Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
M'Guire, Henry & M'Guire
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 10, 1829)-
  • English
  • Alabama--Tuscaloosa County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209304
  • Alabama--Tuscaloosa.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206929
  • Tuscaloosa (Ala.)--Newspapers.
  • Tuscaloosa County (Ala.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Latest issue consulted: Volume III, Number 39 (December 24, 1831).
  • Publishers: McGuire, Henry & McGuire, <1829>; Wiley, M'Guire & Henry, <1830-1831>; W.W. & H.M. McGuire, <1833>.
sn 84021903
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Alabama State Intelligencer

When the Tuscaloosa Alabama State Intelligencer debuted in April of 1829, Tuscaloosa (or Tuskaloosa, as it was often spelled in the nineteenth century) had recently been appointed the new state capital. The newspaper was headquartered there because it was the organ of the state government, published weekly by M'Guire, Henry & M'Guire.

Tuscaloosa, situated on the Black Warrior River and the Huntsville Road, a main north-south route, was transitioning from a rough frontier encampment to a more permanent settlement. One signal of this was the construction of such buildings as the state capitol, a neoclassical design by architect William Nichols, who had also designed North Carolina's state house. In 1831, Tuscaloosa's prestige was increased by the opening of the University of Alabama, with buildings also by Nichols. The Intelligencer regularly reported on the tumultuous early years of the university and the school's sometimes rocky relationship with the town.

The Intelligencer's main purpose was to transmit state government business, reporting on the actions of the congress and the supreme court and reprinting new or proposed legislation. National and, less frequently, international news was also covered, mainly by reprinting or summarizing stories in other newspapers. Much of the rest of the content was given over to advertisements for goods and services and to public notices on such topics as steamboat departures and arrivals, mail routes and schedules, and legal and financial concerns. As with the rest of the South, the economy of slavery was heavily featured in all aspects of the paper, especially in notices about runaway enslaved people, sought and found, and enslaved labor for purchase, sale, or hire. The Poetry Corner featured the work of such British poets as Lord Byron and Felicia Hemans as well as poems by southerners and about the southern frontier.

Politically, the Intelligencer was a moderate Democratic organ that supported nullification, a states' rights contention that developed out of a conflict between South Carolina and the federal government regarding an 1828 import tariff. The doctrine of nullification held that states had the right to declare federal laws invalid if they deemed them to be unconstitutional. Among the Intelligencer's reporting on these issues in 1831, it covered the votes in a January U.S. House resolution about import tariffs and later reprinted the famous Fort Hill Address of Vice President John C. Calhoun, a South Carolinian and leading voice for nullification. Two weeks after, the paper reprinted a lengthy response from Calhoun's old political rival, William H. Crawford of Georgia, and provided editorial commentary on the debate. It also reported on an anti-tariff meeting in Tuscaloosa.

Among other topics of interest was the federal government's relationship with Native Americans in the wake of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. The March 1831 issue estimated the Native population at around 316,000 nationally, with 20,000 in Alabama. Earlier in the year, the paper reported that a delegation from the Creek tribe was passing through on the way to Washington, D.C., to ask the federal government to "relieve the Creek nation from the operation of the laws of Alabama." Threats to the institution of slavery were also a prime concern. On October 22, 1831, there was a report on the capture of slave revolt leader Nat Turner in Virginia and a thwarted Black-led "insurrection" in Delaware. The Intelligencer also reprinted commentary against the new antislavery newspaper the Liberator from a fellow Boston newspaper that called for a more moderate, southern-led approach to ending slavery.

The paper changed its name between 1833 and 1835, becoming the Alabama Intelligencer and State Rights Expositor, which was published by T. M. Bradford. It returned to the Alabama State Intelligencer in 1836, still under Bradford, and was published until at least 1839.

Provided by: University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL