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  • Popular Sovereignty, Public Opinion, and the Presidency

    Giorgio Bertellini

    Chapter from the book: Bertellini, G. 2019. The Divo and the Duce: Promoting Film Stardom and Political Leadership in 1920s America.


    Chapter 1 shows how America’s participation in World War I prompted the collaboration between the U.S. government and the country’s news and film industries both for censorship and propaganda. The unlikely new partnership between Washington and Hollywood culminated with the formation of the Committee on Public Information (CPI), directed by former muckraker George Creel. As a governmental organization, the Creel Committee sought the patriotic collaboration of film studios, the press, and various publicity experts in exchange for their professions’ cultural and commercial uplift. By the same token, the CPI enabled both promotional specialists and federal officials to learn new publicity techniques and practice them on a national and international scale. The alliance between the CPI and the private sector taught the once media-shy President Wilson to appreciate the intertwining of his war policies with his growing celebrity status.

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    Bertellini, G. 2019. Popular Sovereignty, Public Opinion, and the Presidency. In: Bertellini, G, The Divo and the Duce. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.62.b

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    Published on Jan. 15, 2019