Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Methods used in the MARCH OF THE FLAG

Monday, February 13, 2006

Methods used in the MARCH OF THE FLAG

March of the Flag
"Albert Beveridge was US Senator from Indiana (1899-1911), and, as is evident here, a fervent supporter of American imperialism. He gave this speech as a campaign speech on September 16, 1898. " (Can not remember the resource )
As a US Senator from Indiana from 1899 to 1911, Albert Beveridge may not know much about the theory of Jacques Ellul. However, when we compare his work with the theory of Ellul, it is not hard for us to see that all propagandists follows some instinctive routine, even if they don’t really know that themselves.
When Ellul analyze the internal and external characteristics of propaganda, “myth” is a word frequently used by him. When we look at the work of Beveridge today, it is more than obvious that he was using some mythical idea to persuade his “fellow citizens” that Americans need an American Empire.
The myth he used in his work generally falls in three categories: religious Orthopraxy, the national proud and the belief in social progress and liberty.
Beveridge first tried to convince his audience Americans are the “Chosen People” of God. He describe the United States as “a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coastlines would inclose half the countries of Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe, a greater England with a nobler destiny.” Please pay attention to his arrangement of all his arguments: he first tell that this land is the best of the world, and this land is actually the biggest in the “civilized world”, and if you believe all he said is truth, you will not be able to deny what he wanted to say next—the destiny of the Americans.
United States defeated the Britons. Why? Because we are a better nation, we should have heavier responsibility than the Britons had. If the Britons have a big Empire covering all over the world, why not Americans?
Something similar still happens today, when President Bush want to convince American people, he is more than willing to use “God Bless America” or “the land of the free” which means “ We are the chosen people of God, so we are free.” However, what is the definite connection between a free country and a war? –Pagans do not have freedom so they hate us. Therefore, they want to deprive us of our freedom. Therefore, we should fight them and kill them and then we will continue to be free.
Religion is always good to use when one ethnic group want to go to war with some other people of different religious opinion.
The proud to be an American is always to use when those propagandists want to have a war. As long as we are so good a group of people, we should use our ability to change the world! We have “a history of soldiers who carried the flag across blazing deserts and through the ranks of hostile mountains, even to the gates of sunset,” we are a nation that should deserve something more. If anybody who is not as good as us want to take something supposed to be ours, we should go and fight them without doubt.
Ellul believe that THE MORE INTENSE THE LIFE OF A GOURP TO WHICH AN INDIVIUAL BELONGS, THE MORE ACTIVE AND EFFECTIVE PROPAGANDA IS. When Beveridge told his fellow Americans they are the best group of people on earth, he actually wanted all his audience have the strong feelings of belongs.
When everybody had accepted the feeling of belong that the belong to the Great American People, they were actually really for Beveridge’s second step, using the myth of American tradition.
“It is larger than a party question. It is an American question.” Therefore, it is the problem of all people who dare to call themselves “Americans”. If you believe “the Almighty Father endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts and marked us as the people of His peculiar favor.” You should have the feeling of belonging that you are an American.
If you take yourself as an American, you should accept the tradition of all true Americans and the destiny of all the true Americans. That is to continue the policy that “Jefferson began, Monroe continued, Seward advanced Grant promoted, Harrison championed, and the growth of the Republic has demanded.” We should use our war machine to find more and bigger market for our strong economy.
The last one he used is the trust people had on the social advancement. Beveridge believed if our social system is better than that of Philippines and, we did not need to wait for them to invite us to reform their social system, we should go ahead and deliver our system to them. “We govern the Indians without their consent, we govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children without their consent.” In this way, if we are offering something better so those Philippines, there should not be any problem.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very substantial post. It sounds like you are already writing your paper. That's great.

Yes, Beveridge is using the basic mythology of American culture, the images that every American understood. Evoking a shared culture, traditions, and associating them with specific political objectives is a powerful approach to mass persuasion. Beveridge is trying to portray the war as the natural next step in American history.

2/15/2006 11:37 PM  

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