Broadsides and Bayonets

Broadsides and Bayonets

The Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Anniversary Collection

by Carl Berger

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

256 pages, 0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00

  • ISBN: 9781512800623
  • Published: November 2016



Carl Berger here relates the fascinating story of the propaganda and subversion activities of both factions during the American Revolutionary War. The writings of the period, the archives and literature, are filled with intriguing references to "secret arts and machinations," some relating to incidents familiar to students of American history, others touching on events long since forgotten. This book for the first time brings these known and little-known events into perspective, examining in a single, authoritative narrative their role and importance.

In his Preface to Broadsides and Bayonets, Berger explains the great effort which was made by the supporters of both causes toward effective and widespread psychological warfare. "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."

Propaganda activities were not confined to the actual wartime period by any means. The newspaper and pamphlet attacks on the British started well before 1776 and brought to a fighting edge the spirits of the American colonists. Each major protagonist planned intelligent and extensivecampaigns to subvert and weaken the enemy camp. "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."

Broadsides and Bayonets is the absorbing study of the techniques of Revolutionary propaganda. The author encompasses a great lot of original material on the hot and cold war of the period, much of which has not been previously available in a single volume.