Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Who Really Took San Juan Hill?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Who Really Took San Juan Hill?

The Spanish American War did more than propagate against the Spainish and sail America into the realm of imperialism. It was also used to maintain the status quo of racial segregation back home. An example of this would be the myth of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders storming San Juan Hill in the war's bloodiest battle. Part of the myth has Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders storming the hill while regulars, scared, refused and stayed at the base.

In actuality, there were over 8,000 troops involved in the taking of San Juan Hill, with 1250 of them part of African American Calvary and Infantry Units. These troops who were to be known as "Buffalo Soldiers" were as intricate a part of the mission as Lt. Col. Roosevelt's Riders.

While immediate reports highlighted the Buffalo Soldiers and gave pride to African Americans stateside, their story would soon be forgotten in lieu of the growing myth of the war hero turned President Roosevelt who would "speak softly and carry a big stick." Nearly a century later the "nation would rediscover the Buffalo Soldiers."


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post on an important event in the history of the war of 1898.

The myth of T.R.'s charge up San Juan Hill is one of the great stories of the war. War stories of heroism and daring are an important staple wartime media. The military may help to create these myths but they also reflect a demand by the people for heroes and the heroic, something the media and the military are happy to supply.

By the way, I am not sure that you are using the verb "propagate" correctly. I don't think it is commonly used that way.

2/10/2009 10:53 AM  

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