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The Dearborn Independent

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The Dearborn Independent was a newspaper published by Henry Ford from 1919 through 1927. It was noted for its sensational content, including many anti-Semitic references, and publication of the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In 1918, Ford negotiated to buy the Independent from Marcus Woodruff, who had been running unprofitably. The initial staff of the newspaper included E.G. Pipp, previously managing editor of the Detroit News, writers William G. Cameron (also formerly of the News) and Marcus Woodruff, and Fred Black as business manager.

The paper was printed on a used press purchased by Ford and installed in some vacant space at Ford's tractor plant in the Rouge. Publication was inaugurated in January, 1919. The paper initially attracted national attention in June 1919 with coverage of the libel lawsuit between Henry Ford and the Chicago Tribune, as the stories written by Pipp and Cameron were picked up nationally.

The paper began publishing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in 1920, along with other articles reflecting some of Ford's reactionary views. Ford objected to immigration, banking, liquor, and labor unions as well as Jews. A collection of some of the articles was published as The International Jew. (Some sources credit his anti-semitism to portions of the McGuffey Reader, a popular 19th century school text he was certainly exposed to.)

Ford did not write, but expressed his opinions verbally to his executive secretary, Ernest Liebold, and William Cameron. Cameron replaced Pipp as editor in April 1920 when Pipp left in disgust with the planned anti-semitic articles, which began in May. Cameron had the main responsibility for expanding these opinions into article form, although he did not agree with them. Liebold was responsible for collecting more material to support the articles.

The paper reached a circulation of 900,000 by 1925, largely due to promotion by dealers due to a quota system. Lawsuits regarding the anti-Semitic material caused Ford to fold the paper, the last issue being published in December, 1927.

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