Propaganda 1776: Secrets, Leaks, and Revolutionary Communications in Early America
Russ Castronovo
Oxford University Press
Full Description

Propaganda 1776 reframes the culture of the U.S. Revolution and early Republic, revealing it to be rooted in a vast network of propaganda. Truth, clarity, and honesty were declared virtues of the period-but rumors, falsehoods, forgeries, and unauthorized publication were no less the life's blood of liberty. Looking at famous patriots like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine; the playwright Mary Otis Warren; and the poet Philip Freneau, Castronovo provides various anecdotes that demonstrate the ways propaganda was - contrary to our instinctual understanding - fundamental to democracy rather than antithetical to it. By focusing on the persons and methods involved in Revolutionary communications, Propaganda 1776 both reconsiders the role that print culture plays in historical transformation and reexamines the widely relevant issue of how information circulates in a democracy.