Propaganda & The American Revolution

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I read an interesting review of a book titled Propaganda and the American Revolution (see bottom of this post).At the time of the revolution, there was much propaganda in pamphlets like Common Sense. Other media elements of American Revolution propaganda? Alumacs are mentioned. Query whether one might identify new “propaganda” sources for a modern American Revolution? And, if so, which ones are the most effective types/means of propaganda in the new world of “fake news,” social media and a movement towards globalism rather than freedom and individualism?
Undoubtedly, there will be many methods of propaganda that might inform and inspire a new American Revolution.
One method will be by the telling of stories about this battle to create a new revolution as well as the ultimate revolution itself. Perhaps, the story of a person/company involved in the creation of this “propaganda” encouraging a new American Revolution. The story of the beginning of a true third party in America?
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Perhaps now, there is that window of opportunity to create this third party … more of an open window than there has ever been before? The best time ever for a number of Americans to come together and create a third party to go against the other two parties we currently have. A chance for many to create a new party rather than put up with the two-party system of “cards” we have been dealt.
Pondering this idea now in light of the American situation as we are about a month away from mid-term elections after a huge win for the Republicans getting another choice of the President on the Supreme Court. The country seems more divided than I’ve ever seen it. The battle to get Kavanaugh through the process has led to a new low in politics.
Fortunately, there are still people like Susan Collins in the United States Senate. Like many in the nation, I followed the entire Kavanaugh nomination and confirmation on TV, radio and social media. It was like watching battle scenes from old WWII movies. As the day for the final Senate vote on Kavanaugh came about, Collins was the one key Senator whose yes or no had great influence on whether Kavanaugh would be confirmed or not. She decided to give a speech about her reasons for supporting Kavanaugh. Since Collins is one of those rare hybrid Senators from a closely mixed red and blue state, she has always taken unique positions for a Republican.
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Susan Collins’ forty minute, four thousand word speech (And many others feel) will go down as one of the greatest speeches ever given to the Senate. Don’t take my word for it. Go to my post on this at at the bottom of the post, download a PDF of the Collins speech. Or, watch it on the YouTube link to her speech on our post. It seems to me that anyone who gives up fifteen minutes to read the text of her speech (or watch on YouTube) cannot help but see Collins almost calling out a new type of political sensibility. Yes, she is a Republican. Yet she has a strong record of abortion rights and many women related issues. Not a sensibility carved from the two extremes of two historic parties. Rather, one from a person like Collins that is that new political creature, a hybrid Republican and Democrat. Only a hybrid political creature could be the one who cast the deciding vote in the Senate because only a hybrid Senator was on such a razor thin fence between the two different parties.
And, perhaps only a hybrid person like this might serve as the nexus of a new third party. Led by this particular Senator.
I think of what Thomas Paine once said in his piece of propaganda for the American Revolution calledCommon Sense. A piece of propaganda in the form of a pamphlet, the most common political media of the time. In the first paragraph of Common Sense he said the most important thing I’ve ever heard about American politics. He said that the battle is always between the people and the government. Yet, the government is able to stay in power by dividing the people into two categories and having them focus all of their energies (waste all of their energies) on this battle.
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The common culture of a nation is created by media and entertainment and news and symbols. Almost always, it is controlled by the political administration in power. Certainly, this is the condition of most of the regimes (and especially the totalitarian ones) indexed regimes around the world. This is not the case in America, though. America is that strange hybrid nation where national executive (Presidential) power competes with media power every day. Media is an opposition party to Presidential power.
Another hybird is Senator Susan Collins, that Senator that sits on the fence between two sides more than almost all other Senators. Yes, it took a long time for her to give her “yes” vote in the Senate. Yet, it seems to me that none of this was for showboating on her part. Rather, it seemed an incredible report from a type of embedded reporter – Senator Collins – about her observations of the events of the past few months. Senator Coillins’ time for this speech was warranted as it was perhaps one of the most important votes in the history of the American Senate. More than any other voice I had heard, it served as the perfect endnote to a particular time in American politics. A brilliant “endnote” to this period of time in one of the most informed and brilliant speeches I have ever witnessed. The modern hybrid Senator will create a hybrid new Party.
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Story idea: Perhaps it is truly time for a new American Revolution and a Third Party based around a hybrid Senator during a key vote in the Senate. Can media be reunited with a polical power like a new Third Party movement? Idea for the new party is people against government. All people in society, united in their common battle against the government. United into a new political party. A party that takes the best and most common elements between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. It’s time American citizens consider this grand cultural wars battle pushed in front of us each day. We are all forced into a culturally created daily “cinema” where we are force-fed images and sounds and text about a particular narrative.
The time seems past due that we respond back to these narratives culure places us into each day. It time to realize that we can create our own narratives and do not have to follow the daily battle between the two greand narratives of Republicans and Democrats. After all, this narrative is maintained by a battle between cable channels. Yet, what if there developed a group that were unaware of cable channels? As we as the propaganda of social media.

Review of Propaganda and the American Revolution

WILLIAM COLGATE Weston, Ontario. •Propaganda and the American Revolution. By PHILIP DAVIDSON. Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press. 1941. Pp. xvi, 460. ($4.00) This book is an excellent illustration of the extent to which the approach to the historical past is in itself the product of the culture in which the historian lives and works. A hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, no self-respecting historian in the United States would have dared to intimate that the American Revolution was the work of a minority, who deliberately resorted to an elaborate and highly refined technique in order to create the necessary unity of purpose which made revolution possible. Today, however, the evidence of the concerted effort, the skill, and the sophistication of technique of Sam Adams and his fellows will be accepted, with some reservations, as a matter of course by most historians. There are perhaps two reasons why this is so. First, within the last thirty years, nearly all the animus has died out of the American historian’s approach to the Revolution. Hence, the implication of ulterior motive carried by the word “propaganda,” i.e. that the arguments were advanced for a purpose, and not because of any intrinsic validity, can now be offered without too gross an affront to patriotic susceptibilities. Second, since the World War, the role of propaganda as an instrument of control in great social movements has now been so thoroughly popularized by social psychologists that it has permeated all the social sciences. Dr. Davidson’s approach to his subject is, in fact, directly modelled upon the conceptual apparatus of a social psychologist, to be found in Harold Lasswell’s Propaganda Techniques in the World War. We are informed that the propagandist “has four major aims: (1) to justify the course he advocates;(2) to demonstrate the advantages of victory; (3) to arouse hatred for the enemy; (4) to neutralize inconvenient suggestions.” Around these categories, the propaganda of the Revolution is then organized. The constitutional arguments of Dickinson, Hopkins, Jefferson, etc., are the “justification” for revolt. The threat of unlimited taxation and the menace of “Popery” demonstrate negatively the advantages of victory. Of particular interest in this connection is the way in which Sam Adams and his fellows distorted Britain’s extension of religious liberty in Canada into a conspiracy to fix Catholicism upon the Americas. Britain’s permission, granted in 1770, to Catholic missionaries to go to Nova Scotia was denounced as one of the Rwwwws oF BooKs 203 most “daring Violations of Law, and attacks upon the PROTESTANT RELIGION which have disgraced the Annals of the Present Reign.” The Quebec Act was attacked in the same fashion. One writer labelled it a Catholic conspiracy” to cut off all the liberties of the rest of the colonies.” Propaganda of this kind, incidentally, could hardly fail to alienate certain Canadian groups; and it may be regarded as one explanation of why the drive to ally Canada on the rebel side failed so completely. An excellent chapter deals with the symbol structure which changed affection for monarchy and the British crown into hatred for kings and for George III. In 1764, propaganda spared the King directly, and attacked rather the ministers who carried out state policy. Thus in 1764, a rude poet enquired: “When dunce on dunce successive rules our state, Who can’t love a Pitt, and who a Grenville hate?” This was moderate enough, but by 1776, George III was himself a “thief,” and a “murderer”; and his soldiers were “hirelings,” “procurers,” and “butchers.” Americans could now listen with complacency as Paine poured ridicule and vitriol upon the head of the King, the crown, and the constitution of monarchy in general. If this book has any serious difficulty, it lies in the tacit assumption that all aspects of revolutionary thought and ideology have no real validity except as instruments of persuasion. This attitude leads directly into an extreme sceptical relativism, in which all values and ideas are regarded as mere tools in the hands of self-conscious conspirators. This in turn establishes a simple “conspiracy theory” of the Revolution, and that is in fact the position which this study adopts.


Music to listen to while reading this post.

The Art of Noise

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