Broadsides and Bayonets: The Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Broadsides and Bayonets: The Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Broadsides and Bayonets: The Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Broadsides and Bayonets: The Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Excerpt

In this book I have attempted to encompass the story of propaganda and subversion in the American Revolutionary War. The archives and literature of the Revolution contain many intriguing references to "secret arts and machinations," some relating to incidents familiar to us, others touching on events long forgotten. This book for the first time brings them together in a single narrative, examining their role and importance.

During its eight-year progression the war gave birth to many divisive operations, well planned in some instances and often involving minority groups on the scene as well as Englishmen and Americans. Drawn into the colonial struggle were French Canadians and German mercenaries, Indian tribes and Negro slaves, Irishmen, and other peoples. From the beginning it was a war of words as well as gunpowder, with each major protagonist seeking to subvert and weaken the enemy camp with carefully prepared arguments. It was a provocative war in which the atrocity story, kidnappings, false rumors, and bribery stirred the people. It was a conflict which inevitably spread to Europe and there engaged the talents of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, in America's first organized overseas propaganda campaign.

In reconstructing this tale, I have been much less concerned with the important military operations of the war than with what was said and done in support of them, and also less concerned with the political issues than with the techniques of . . .

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