Historical And Contemporary Figures Of Benjamin Franklin And Ivy Lee Essay

Historical And Contemporary Figures Of Benjamin Franklin And Ivy Lee Essay

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Public relations have been a prominent aspect of society for millennia, dating back to 50 B.C. with Julius Caesar and referred by the Ancient Greeks as “semantikos”, which is the practice of persuading people into a belief or action (Witman, 2000). Public relations is still been influenced by the contributions of key historical and contemporary figures including Benjamin Franklin and Ivy Lee.

In the early years of 50 B.C., the idea of persuading people to vote for a particular person was conceived. Julius Caesar released the first campaign biography titled The Gallic Wars (Gallic Wars). The texts depict the history of his military campaign from 58 B.C. to 51 B.C. and were used to convince the Roman Empire of his capabilities to be the head of state. To this day, political figures publish biographies with depictions of their political and or military exploits to gain an advantage in their elections.

During 394 A.D., St Augustine was a professor of rhetoric in Milan, the capital of the Western Roman Empire (Dewar, 2013). Being one of the first people involved in Public Relations, he pioneered the modern press secretary. His job entailed delivering regular eulogies to the Emperor and was similar to a minister of propaganda for the imperial court (Sheehan, 2007).

In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote The Crisis - a pamphlet aimed at encouraging the soldiers of Washington’s army to remain in the dreary conditions and fight. A number of the soldiers were preparing to desert and escape from the cold and hardships of the winter campaign. However, Paine was a supposed master of political propaganda whose writing could persuade people to act and believe in what he preached (Dewar, 2013).

After Benjamin Franklin became a prominent figure in soci...


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...union and management panelists, encouraging them to bargain with the union, offered tours of the plant and convinced the company to sponsor a vocational program (Hiebert, 1966). Proctor and Gamble had released a racist radio commercial that offended many African-Americans. Bernays immediately took action by changing the commercial, inviting the public to tour the plant, encouraging the company to offer African-Americans significant jobs and featuring them in the company news letter (Witman, 2000).
Throughout the course of history the principles and practice of public relations has slowly been forming. From the founding father Julius Caesar to Lee and Bernays the theory of public relations has developed into the modern day practice. As Stuart Ewen states, "The history of PR is… a history of a battle for what is reality and how people will see and understand reality."

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