by Ethan Plaut, Fellow at Stanford University Program in Writing & Rhetoric, and Jill Golden, Outreach Archivist
The Hoover Institution Library & Archives at Stanford is a singular place to study war and revolution in the twentieth century. A recent Program in Writing & Rhetoric course, Propaganda: The Dark Side of Rhetoric, brought Stanford freshmen to Hoover to examine its rich propaganda collections and to select items for further study.
Of the essays submitted about Hoover's collections for the course, the three stellar examples listed below provide excellent analyses of the arguments, logical and illogical, verbal and visual, that one finds in propaganda. They also provide a detailed and intimate look at just few of the millions of items contained in Hoover's stacks.
"Liberty Bonds and Justice for All" by Elise Kostial, Stanford Class of 2018
In her analysis of a World War I liberty bonds poster, Kostial exposes false analogies between Lady Justice and Lady Liberty.
"They Shall Not Perish: Being Lady Liberty, Five Dollars at a Time" by Sam Premutico, Stanford Class of 2018
Premutico shows how the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief raised money by putting US citizens squarely in a savior's shoes.
"The 'Big Lie' Exposed: A Rhetorical Analysis of Nazi-German in 22 Lessons" by Cameron Van de Graaf, Stanford Class of 2018
Van de Graaf's essay elucidates how the British Ministry of Information used sarcasm and parody to unravel Nazi manipulations of language.