Despite Tourgée’s insistence that he was creating a new kind of publication, The Basis evolved into something much like his earlier attempt at a literary journal.
Like Our Continent, the Basis became another journal of literary and political articles and editorials, some from contemporary authors but many written by Tourgée himself and his daughter Aimee Tourgée.
The Basis seemed to obscure rather than crystallize Tourgée’s efforts to highlight the need for political and social reform.
For example, in a letter dated March, 1895, W. M. Pierce, a Principal at the Williamsville Union School writes:
My dear Judge:
I have been through the Basis pretty carefully and I must confess that it is…a forerunner of a very high class magazine.
..The only thing I would mention…is that the article on the currency is a little ‘too high a rack for calves.’
…what I mean to say is that the currency question is so difficult to the average citizen…
The article on Fred Douglass has given me my first clear understanding of his relation to my period. It seems to me clear-cut and comprehensive.
The statement of the conditions in the street railroad article is unmistakable and unanswerable…