Edward Bernays' Influence

Edward Bernays
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Edward Bernays' Influence The 20th century witnessed the development of the field of public relations, as well as prominent advances in advertising methods. Central to these developments was Edward Bernays. Born in 1891, Bernays was the nephew of groundbreaking psychologist Sigmund Freud.


He would then go on to promote his theories, greatly contributing to the prominence psychoanalysis assumed in this country. Prominently featured in the 2002 documentary the Century of the Self, Bernays would prove to be one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century. This essay examines Bernay’s influence on society. Edward Bernay’s impact and influence on society is truly astonishing. From an overarching context, Bernays is recognized as implementing Freudian psychological theories as a means of manipulating mass culture. Bernays demonstrated to corporations how they could use people’s unconscious desires to sell products to people that they don’t really want to purchase. From a broader political perspective, Bernay’s recognized that by satisfying peoples’ inner selfish desires it made them happy and docile. Bernay’s first influence and implementation of this theoretical model on social forces occurred during the 1920s as he was working for Woodrow Wilson. Bernays implemented propaganda as a means of presenting Wilson as a liberator of the people, significantly altering Wilson’s public perception. Bernays would later work for President Calvin Coolidge. Bernays persuaded thirty celebrities to visit the White House as a means of shifting public perception about Coolidge. ...
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