James Gordon Bennett (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Bennett made the American newspaper an independent enterprise and established the foundations of the profession of journalism.
James Gordon Bennett was born on September 1, 1795, in Scotland, the first son of landholding Roman Catholic parents who abided by the teachings of the Church. At the time of Bennett’s birth, there were perhaps fewer than forty thousand Catholics in all of Scotland, but his parents were steadfast in the faith and in their determination to have a son join the priesthood. Two sisters and a close younger brother named Cosmo completed the Bennett family. James Gordon in later life became embittered by the Church, blaming it for mistreatment of his brother, who died in seminary.
In the strict, Presbyterian-dominated public school system of the time, the Bible was regarded as central to education and to the development of good manners and industry. Latin, Greek, some English, mathematics, history, and a large dosage of the doctrines of John Knox constituted the curriculum, which continued until the child reached the early teens. Bennett’s formal education was reinforced at home by his parents, who read the Scriptures regularly and discussed the colloquial history of the family, the region, and Scotland. Bennett attributed his later success as a newspaperman to this early training. At fifteen, he was taken to the Catholic Seminary at Aberdeen, which was some...
(The entire section is 3183 words.)
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