Explore by Level

Home  »  Level 2  »  Propaganda

Level 2:


Bernays, Edward L.

1928, January 1


“Bernays’ honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies.” — Noam Chomsky

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” — Edward Bernays

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of consent.” During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, as well as his uncle, Sigmund Freud, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.

Where to Find Resource Online

Purchasable online from:

     Barnes & Noble


Digital versions are freely available online:

     Internet Archive

PDF Document

Greater Context

The Century of the Self is a 2002 British television documentary series consisting of 4 episodes and it ties in with Bernay’s book, Propaganda. In this documentary, Adam Curtis examines Sigmund Freud’s theories on human desire, and how they’re applied to platforms such as advertising, consumerism and politics. The first episode, “Happiness Machines,” concerns Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. Check out this video!


Filed under the following tags: psychology

To Aid Your Exploration

Alternative News Links

These are links to news resources/blogs that are an alternative to the mainstream media.  The people behind these sites are dedicated to getting at the truth.