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The Republican is a newspaper based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is owned by Newhouse Newspapers, a division of Advance Publications. It played important roles in the United States Republican Party's founding, Charles Dow's career, and the invention of the pronoun "Ms."
Established by Samuel Bowles II in 1824 as a rural weekly, it was converted into a daily in 1844. From the beginning it had a focus on local news. As rapidly as possible its news-gathering was extended until within a few years its columns contained departments of items from every town and hamlet along the Connecticut Valley, as well as from Springfield. It achieved national renown in the nineteenth century under the tenure of Samuel Bowles III, a legacy that was passed to his son, Samuel Bowles IV.
In 1855, Bowles II called for the founding of a new party that would abolish slavery. He suggested the name "Republican." Once abolitionists founded a party by this name, The Republican became one if its most unrelenting supporters.
Bowles III believed that the newspaper should be a power in the moral, religious, and literary, as well as the political life of the community, and he tried to make his paper fulfill those functions. With the aid of J. G. Holland and others who joined the staff the paper attained excellent literary quality and a high moral tone. Its opinions soon reached all New England, and after the formation of the Republican party they extended far beyond the limits of any section.
During the controversies affecting slavery and resulting in the American Civil War, Bowles supported, in general, the Whig and Republican parties, but in the period of Reconstruction under President Ulysses S. Grant, his paper represented anti-administration or Liberal Republican opinions, while in the disputed election of 1876 it favored the claims of Samuel J. Tilden, and subsequently became independent in politics. It endorsed the Democratic candidate for president in every modern election until the 2008 election, in which it endorsed John McCain.
During Bowles' lifetime, and subsequently, the Republican office was a sort of school for young journalists, especially in the matter of pungency and conciseness of style, one of his maxims being: "put it all in the first paragraph".
Bowles was an acquaintance of Emily Dickinson, and he published a handful of the very few poems by the poet printed in her lifetime, including "A narrow fellow in the grass" and "Safe in their alabaster chambers."
Bowles was succeeded as publisher and editor-in-chief of the Republican by his son Samuel Bowles (b. 1851).
The pronoun "Ms." was first suggested by an anonymous 1901 letter to The Republican. The letter read, in part, "To call a maiden Mrs. is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss. Yet it is not always easy to know the facts... The abbreviation 'Ms.' is simple, it is easy to write, and the person concerned can translate it properly according to the circumstances."
The second half of the 20th century saw the consolidation of Springfield's newspapers. The Republican became part of two other local papers. The Springfield Daily News and the Morning Union merged in the 1970s, briefly operating as separate papers, even endorsing different candidates for the same offices. Eventually the two editions were combined into The Union-News (a morning paper) in 1988, with The Sunday Republican being published on Sundays. An organization called the Springfield Newspapers became the local division of the Newhouse family empire. The newspaper was formerly known as The Springfield Union News & Sunday Republican.
The newspaper reverted to its historical, pre-Union-News name of The Republican around 2001. George Arwady became publisher of The Springfield Republican on December 31, 2009; he was previously publisher of The Newark Star-Ledger.
In the 21st century, the newspaper has received criticism for its practice of distributing unsolicited advertising flyers to houses.
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