IDECOL-:ICAL RHETORIC: SYSTEMIC ARGURLEITS Ol WAR AID PEACE
IN HIGH SCHOOL AMERICAN HISTORY TEXTBOOKS
Woodrow Wilson Leake, Jr.
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO Ti[ GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA III PARTIAL FULFILL'IENT
OF THE RE:QUIF'.EMEN'T-S FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORID;.
Woodrow W-ilson Leake, Jr.
For her years of patience
ACKNOW'LE DG-l E ITS
Al-..ays, at the conclusion of a graduate career, there
is more assistance and guidance to be acknowledged than
there is space available for such a purpose. Such is my
predicament at this writing. I apologize in advance to
those mary people who are omitted from this necessarily
I would be remiss in my acknowledgments were I not to
begin with two special notes of gratitude. First, I thank
Professor Merwyn A. Hayes, of Wake Forest University, whose
influence and friendship began to convince me that my
diverse academic interests could best be amalgamated in the
field of speech, specifically by studyiing rhetorical
theory, rhetorical criticism, and public address. Second,
I thank Processor Mlichael C. :;cGee, of Memphis State
Uni-.ersit.t. W'Jhile teaching at the University of Alabama,
Professor NcGee introduced me to the broad concept of
ideological rhetoric. His teaching and criticism strongly
influenced m; conceiving of this stud'.. The logistical
problems of commuting bet'.:een 'lemphis, Tennessee, and Gaines-
'ille, :-L rda2, finally. force- him to relinquish his role
as an :-.-- menoer of my co-T-ittee. His corntinuinc, long-
dis -.:- :-- icisi- has been --ery helpful during the writing
c: .-.- stu y..
-.....r : supervisory co;nittee--Professors Ronald H.
Car-e-.-r, .-'.n d E. Williams, G. Paul Moore, and Anthony J.
Cl-ar---. Ztr- University of Florida Department of Speech,
and Marilyn B. Zweig of .the University of Florida Department
of Philcsophy--.gave willingly of their time and critical
abilities. Professor Williams was especially helpful in
directing the early stages of the study. Professor Carpenter
was a creative and rigorous chairman of the committee. At a
time when so many accept and seem even to encourage academic
mediocrity as a norm, it '..as constantly encouraging and
sometimes painfully stimulating to work under a scholar who
demands academic excellence for himself and for his students.
Professor Carpenter demanded of me a constant questioning,
analytical, and productive attitude. Without his astute
criticism and friendly pressure, the study might .well have
Because of the need to consult numerous other sources
in the process of developing the bibliography for this study,
somewhat e::cessive demands were made on the staff of the
University of Florida libraries. Ray Jones, of the reference
department, w.as particularly helpful in identifying sources
which could be of help. Also, Sherman L. Butler, of the
inter-library loan department, w.as relentless in tracking
down and obtaining some rather obscure studies.
Since the study transcended tne traditional scope of
the field of speech, members of othe:- departments were called
- for assi_-.:-i.: beyonc- tha offered by my committee.
Professors :.-.-- :-!ahon of the Department of History, Kenneth
.Meg---1 o -he Department of Philosophy, and David Conradt of
the ELr_==_-nc of Political Science were all quite helpful
in direc-ing me to sources ,'ith which I was not familiar.
In addition, Professors Lyle McAlister of the Department of
History and Betty Ellis of the College of Education read and
offered useful criticism on parts of the study.
For their constant assistance and loving encouragement,
I am extremely grateful to both my families. And to my
wife, Susan, goes my most profound gratitude. She served as
proofreader and editor, as middle-cof-the-night sounding
board and readily available critic, as unpaid research
assistant and reiicf typist, and as crying toweL during the
inevitable dark periods. Most of all, she, above all others,
understands what it means for me to have completed this
degree and appreciates what I attempted to do in this study.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACUKil' 0LEDGM E[IT
LIST OF TABLES
S . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
IN TRODUCTIO . . . . . . .
IDEOLOGY . . . . . . . .
HISTORY: ITS IDEAL AND PRAG-MATIC ROLES
A DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEMIC ARGUMENTS IN
SURVEYED AMlERICAH HISTORY TEXTBOOKS
ANALYSIS, EVALUATION, AND PROJECTIONS
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .
. . . 14
. . . 159
LIST OF TABLES
I. Distribution of Arguments Against Entering Wars 93
II-. Distribution of Arguments for Entering Wars 95
III. Percentage of Books Containing Each Argument 96
IV. Distribution of Categories . . . . .. 101
V. Percentage of Books Containing Each Category .103
. i 1. i
.---z--::" l=zr-ation Presented to the Graduate Council
S- ---r=ity' of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
.-.5 -tre.-.ts for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
IDEOLC3 C.-L RHlETORIC: SYSTElIIC ARGUrMElTS ONi WAR AilD PEACE
1U HIGH SCHOOL AM.ERICA;! HISTORY TEXTBOOKS
Woodrow- Wilson Leake, Jr.
Chairman: Ronald H. Carpenter
Major Department: Speech
The situationally-unbound rhetoric of ideology and the
s'.mbolic movement of that rhetoric are the focuses of this
study. Ideology permeates the United States, just as it does
all societies. Furthermore, in order to help perpetuate
itself, ideology utilizes rhetoric to con.vev its positions to
the populace. The author identified the primary rhetorical
tool of ideology and designated it systemic argument. Sys-
temic argument was defined as an assertion of putative fact
which functions as a justification for actions) taken or
positions held on the part of the social structure. Such an
argument is addressed to the public at large and is intended
to instruct the populace as to .-'hiat action and/or attitude in
the situation being considered is most in keeoincg with the
articles of ideology.
In order to Leep the study tightly focused, the inves-
tigation .*.:s li.irited to the appearance in high sclo~ol American
.iaryv te:::-'::.-. o f-arguments for and against American
..-- .--: -- .; withdrawal from seven major wars in which the
L'.-.ir_ ?---s has been involved: the American Revolution,
the ,ar L 2l2, the IHe::ican-American War, the Spanish-
aAmerican War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
It was clearly established that such textbooks do play a
role in the perpetuation of ideology by presenting the ideo-
logical interpretation of United States history. Thus,
history tex:-books could be treated as rhetorical documents
for purposes of the study. A list was developed of the most
widely used high school American history textbooks from 1920
to 1969. Selected at random from that list were fifty text-
books, ten per decade, to be surveyed in identifying the
The completed survey produced fourteen systemic argu-
ments f-tvoring A meriLcan entry- into wars, five arguments
opposing American entry, twTo arguments for American with-
draw.al from wo.rs (one of ;which was unique to the War of 1812),
and no arguments against wLithdrainLrg from w.ars. Subsequent
analysis of the rhetorical data produced the following re-
sults. (1.I The fourteen systemic arguments favoring American
entry, into wars constitute those articles of the mnerican
ideology "..-:.i.ch justify war. The-, were used in a high per-
centag : s-ur.veyed te:-.tbooks across time and across wars.
T'ie c.:-. 3 enl =--'. across wars ...as e-.'en more marked when
- -.--_-r- .s e- arguments were grouped into categories.
i .-. .--_---.i arguments tended to repeat parts of Presi-
rather c-an as patriotic rallying calls. (3) The arguments
opposing American entry into w..ars were not systemic arguments.
(4) The inconsistent and infrequent use of opposition argu-
ments, relative to the use of systemic arguments, supported
the observation of unwillingness on the part of textbook
authors to give equal treatment to opposition arguments.
(5) The tone of the authors indicated support for the
ideological interpretation of American entry into wars and
the already noted unwillingness to give equal treatment to
opposition arguments. (6) Authors omitted significant con-
tributory factors cited.by the definitive w.:ar histories and
misrepresented other factors, thus creating an incomplete and
ideologically slanted picture of reality. (7) Two kinds of
s.:o:molic movement were defined. Both were observed in the
surveyed rhetorical documents. Rectilinear movement occurs
'.*'hen there is a change of arguments or a change in the use of
a particular argument across time or across wars. Helical
movement occurs 'when there is recurrence of arguments across
time or across wars. Generally, there '.was more helical move-
ment of syscemic arguments and more rectilinear movement of
opposition arguments. Both ;move.mernt patterns provided subtle
support of the ideological position and negation of the impact
of oppas.itcn arguments.
I. The ieed to Transcend Situational Limitations
A. Situational Emphasis Is the Norm
B. Griffin Extended the Scope of Rhetorical
C. E::tending Mov-ement Theory Beyond Situational
I. The Need to Study "Other" Rhetorical Forms
A. Investigating Ideological Rhetoric
B. History Textbooks as Rhetorical Documents
I. The Importance and Timeliness of Focusing on War and
A. The Topic Is Timely
B. The Topic Is Appropriate to the Proposed
Scholarly i n.'e t igation
IV. The methodologicall Appro-nch of the Study
A. Defining and E:-:piaining the Function of
B. E::plaining History's Role in Perpetuating
C. Identifying and Describing the Textbooks
D. Analysis and Evaluation of Systemic Arguments
E. Conc idi.ng the Stud-
V. The Contribution of this S-udy
This chapter will identify and justify the need for
this study', discuss the theoretical foundations involved,
identify sources of investigation, and specify the method-
ology to be employed in carrying out the study. Specifi-
cally, this introduction will develop the following topics:
the need to transcend situational limitations in rhetorical
studies, the need to look at "other" rhetorical forms, the
importance and timeliness of focusing on war and peace, the
methodological approach to be used, and the contribution to
be made b' this study.
This stud'-. will focus on rhetoric which transcends
situational limitations. Such rhetoric may form the per-
suasive underpinnings for the time- and situationally-bound
rhetoric wh-ich is already the subject of so man' studies.
It is hoped that this study will supplement the work already
being done in the realm of rhetoric which is situationally-
0.-.- ve-ry interesting example is the unpublished paper
entitle: 'The Idea of a M:acro-Rhetoric," by Michael C. McGee.
i:cee _.:-=_-sts that too much effort is spent in the field of
spee--. -c:7r-.:nication on studies of pa-ricular men, speeches,
see.-. s i-zz:- ons, and movements and that not enough effort
In cc---.-. -sage in zhe Jnited States, ideoloqv is a
-- -: '.- -:. In fact, however, it is a neutral term
..-.-. = : narm.es a collection of ideas, beliefs, and
values ..---.c a society uses to guide and to justify its
policies and actions. The society also attempts to per-
petuate its ideology. This dissertation is a study of the
rhetoric used for such perpetuation of ideology. Because
the concept of ideology is so central to this study, Chapter
T:..o will be devoted solely to defining and describing
The Need to Transcend Situational Limitations
During the winter and spring of 1970, the Speech
Communication Association sponsored the National Develop-
mental Project of Rhetoric. BLtter and Black explain the
purpose of that project's t'wo main conferences as being to
identify some problems that rhetoric is facing and might
have to face in the future and to make some recommendations
about ho'. to resolve these problems.
is de.voced to defining the relationship between "public
values" and men in society. He is developing the concept of
macro-rhetoric in an attempt to deal in part with the kind
of situationally-unbound rhetoric focused on by this stud'..
Although the prefix macro is not unique to rhetoric, LIcGee
Is using the term to stress his emphasis on public address
in its broadest possible sense of being the kind of rhetoric
'.lhich L caddr:essed to the public at large, is intimately
related :: the '.alue s'.stems of the society which gave it
birth, _.-. is identifiable in rhetorical documents such as
nr.e*.-:.. : pa~a:onlets, pollc-. statements, etc.
-.:. := :.-;ec's two major conferences, scholars from
5.-=- fields considered rhetoric's past and future,
ie-.-_ :i he problems in contemporary life which
r=-:ire applications of rhetorical concepts and methods,
.-.i -cmended lines'of research and educational pro-
cra-= needed to bring an effective rhetoric into rela-
ti-n. -o current and future needs.2
Members of the Comm-ittee on the Scope of Rhetoric and
the Place of Rhetorical Studies in Higher Education expressed
their desire that scholars be encouraged to pursue rhetorical
studies beyond the normal range of inveStitigation.
The conferees encourage that the phrase "rhetorical
studies" be understood to include any human transaction
in which symbols and/or systems of symbols influence
values, attitudes, beliefs, and actions; they encourage
individuals and groupsto conduct investigations and
publish findings dealing with many different kinds of
It is in response to that reconunendation and others calling
for broadening the scope of rhetoric that this study is being
Situational Emphasis Is the Norm
Whatever differences they' may have, most rhetorical
studies tend to share a situational orientation. This obser-
vation is not an indictment, but a statement of fact.
2Lloyd F. Bitzer and Edwin Black, eds., The Prospect
of Rhetoric iEngle'.-.ood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,
Inc., 1971), p. v. When referred to in the body of this
study, these conferences will be called by their popular
name, "the Wingspread Conference."
Douglas Ehnirier et al. "Report of th- Committee on
the Scope of Rhetoric and the Place of Rhetorical Studies in
Higher E: -cation," in The Prospect of Rhetoric, ed. by
Lloyd F. Eitzer and Ed-.in Black (Englewood Cliffs, Ne' Jersey:
Prentice-:.11, Inc., 19711, pp. 214-215.
.---- r ---: s tend to focus on symbolic behavior within
.-.e :--.in-s of particular social context or as an event
or -_.n as par of a historical movement which tends to
estab-3.-. its own boundaries and make of itself a situation.
While the arguments for bounding rhetoric are widespread and
highly respectable in academic circles they are also in-
dicative of the fact that the field of speech-communication
has not yet explored fully symbolic behavior which is not
Emphasis on situationally-bound rhetoric has become the
norm in the field of speech-com.munication, and that is perhaps
as it ought to be. But, such emphasis tends to ignore the
seemingly obvious fact that men in society are influenced
by rhetoric '..hich tends to permeate their lives, to be con-
stant, and to influence their beliefs and behavior by subtly,
but also continuously, asserting the truth of seemingly fac-
tual statements. Thus, one's behavior, attitudes, and
beliefs may be changed not so much by being persuaded .:;thin
the confines of a situation as b. merely absorbing the claims
of a particular line of argument over a period of time,
without regard for situational limitations. In this sense,
the '.;er environment or social class in which one lives may
be rhetorical. It is rhetoric in this broader sense that
needs to be studied more than it has been, so that fuller
uncerstaninding might be gained of the %way situationall'.-unbound
r.eaoric is .usei .an' jud.gments might be made about its
.: --: : -r _~~.luence on chose excosed to it.
:-.- raon rhetorical critics and theorists have been
boun-d S- -zuations for so long is chat leading scholars in
the field of speech-communication have tended to emphasize
chat situations are the core of rhetorical studies. In their
classic treatise, Speech Criticism, for example, Thonssen
and Baird indicated chat the speech situation is the proper
object of study for all critics. They defined speech
situation as "a complex social relationship in which a
speaker attempts to secure a particular response from a group
of listeners," and they indicated that such a situation "is
sev.erel. controlled b- cime limitations."5 While chis
approach is tw:enty-fiv-e years old, it is unchanged in the
Thonssen, Baird, and Braden rev.-ise: edition which remains
speaker- and situation-oriented. Their approach continues
to influence scholars in the field of speech-communication.
A-s should be obvious, no rhetoric is entirely either
situationally-bound or situ.ationally.-unbound. Rather, there
is a continuum along w.iiich various instances and types of
rhetoric may be placed. Some will be more bound than others
and some will be more nearly unbound than others. For pur-
poses of this study, rhetoric 'which is primarily limited in
scope ..ill be called situationally:-bound rhetoric and that
rhetoric '..hich is primarily unbound by situation and.'or time
factors ".:ill be called situationally-unbound rhetoric.
5Le-r Thorisen and A. Craig: Baird, Speech Criticism
(Me.; Y :--:: The Ronald Press Company, 1943 3), pp. 6-7.
--: Thonssen, A. Craig :Baird, and Waldo W. Braden,
S?_-e- Cri-:-zism (2nd ed.; ile'-; Yorc: The Ronald Press
Cc::-=..., 1 7 pp. 7-3.
I-.-:.- c'-rre.-.:-_ ex-iting "new" approaches in the discipline
r.Zi -o r-ei-azae the perspective of Thonssen and Baird.
I-. -e :f -he'more widely read essays of recent years,
Bitzer asserts that "so controlling is the situation that
we should consider it the very ground of rhetorical activity,
whether that activity is primitive and productive of a simple
utterance or artistic and productive of the Gettysburg
Address." Thus, even some thinkers who are influencing
current trends of rhetorical scholarship are interested more
in limited than in situationally-unbound rhetoric.
The problem may have something to do with the fact that
many rhetorical scholars tend to function more as critics
than as theorists. The difference between a theorist and a
critic is adequately described by Brockriede's statement that
"the theorist tends to be interested in generalizations at
the highest level of abstraction he can achieve, whereas
participants and critics tend to be interested in making
decisions or judgmaenlts about one very particular and unique
act." Of co.-rse, there is a great need for rhetorical
critics. By functioning primarily as critics, howe%'er,
rhetorical scholars may cut themselves off from the possi-
bility of transcending that rhetoric which is situationally-
F: Bitzer, "The Phetorical Situation," Philosophyi
a-n F, I i .n te r 1 n r ) ,
.-.-: Brockriede, "Dimensions of the Concept of
...=- ic," -terly Journal of Speech, LIV (Februa-r 1968),
-=_.-.- _e:-.e caught up in specific, limited instances
3 r--=-.:r, .-.st scholars begin to praise specificity and
co:-.--: generalizations. Thus, it is possible to indict
rhetoric-l scholars who so limit themselves in much the same
tone used by Frye when he noted that "it is all very well
for Blake to say that to generalize is to be an idiot, but
when ,we find ourselves in the cultural situation of savages
who have words for ash and willow but no word for tree, we
wonder if there is not such a thing as being too deficient
in the capacity to generalize." [lost rhetorical scholars,
it would seem, have been interested in the asn and willow
of criticism. This study. will attempt to focus its atten-
tion from the perspective of the entire forest in which those
Griffin Extended the Scope of Rhetorical Studies
While it is true that some scholars have extended the
scope of rhetorical studies, it is also true that they have
generally remained within the realm of situationally-bound
rhetoric. Griffin, for example, stressed the importance of
studying the rhetoric of historical movements. His idea is
full of possibilities for transcending situation in rhetori-
cal studies. The idea has not yet reached its potential,
however, in part because Griffin indicated that "to study a
rio'.ement is to study a progress, a rhetorical striving, a
:'r_-z-roo Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton:
Prin-ce:-- _'.- '.'.ersity Press, 1957), p. 13.
e:..-.:. _:- progress from stasis to stasis; for both
-h= r--i-_is .and 'the objectives of a movement are motionless.'
They vzi-. in the stasis of indecision, and they end in the
stasis of 'decision preserved in.'"0 The word progress and
the phrase "progress from stasis to stasis" present problems,
for Griffin wants to study the rhetoric within the confines
of an identifiable situation.
The student's task, according to Griffin, is to iso-
late a rhetorical movement.
The student's task is to isolate the rhetorical move-
ment within the matrix of the historical movement: the
rhetorical movement is the focus of his study. It is
to be isolated, analyzed, evaluated, and described,
so that he can say, for the particular historical move-
ment which he investigates: this was the pattern of
public discussion, the configuration of discourse, the
physiognomy of persuasion.11
Obviously, Griffin is interested in studying movements for
which there is a definite beginning and end which can be
described along with easily discernible periods within the
movement itself. Therein lies the problem. With the con-
cept he introduced when he began writing about and encourag-
ing movement studies, the studies as Griffin describes them
must, of necessity, be situation- and time-bound and must
continue in the vein of all studies that have gone before them.
Leland M. Griffin, "A Dramatistic Theory of the
Rhetoric of Movrements," in Cricical Responses to Kernneth
Bur-.e, e b3. by William Ho.-.:ard Rueckert (Minneapolis: Univer-
sity, of rMi.nn so a Press, 19691, ). 461.
G-iffin, "The Rhetoric of Historical Movements,"
Ou~,rter~i :-.r..al of Speech, :-::VIII (April, 1952), 135.
_::_ --n ing :_ -.-=--.-.-.t Theor. Beyond
1 7 -t ^.3 ations
-- .i .-n description, Griffin is interested in the
rhe ..-- :: historical movements. The "rhetorical move-
ments" he sees accompanying those periods of history are
identified by defining the patterns which speeches fall into
within a historical movement. It may be, however, that
within the realm of situationally-unbound rhetoric, there
exist purely "rhetorical" movements which are not linked to
historical or social mass movements, but are identifiable
primarily because the words, phrases, and arguments used to
discuss particular topics within a society may change as
the society refines and revises its rhetorical approach to
Such movements may be helical or rectilinear in
nature. If the arguments tend to recur over a period of
time, the mo-.ement is helical; as the topics reappear,
the same basic arguments are revived to deal with them. If,
on the other hand, there tends to be no recurrence of argu-
ments, but a simple change of arguments across time, then
the movement is rectilinear. The changing arguments indicate
that the society producing those arguments has changed its
approach to the recurring topic. Rectilinear movement does
not necessaril: indicate that the society has improved, but
simply -:-. it has changed its rhetorical strategies concern-
in. a p.ar--:ular topic.
Because :.- : nedc be on accompanying social and his-
.- .. -.:--i-.. to aid in tr -cin3 patterns of movement in
r.-.r-:, apply Gr-iffin's tools to situationally-unbound
rhe-:or_-:: y be totally useless. It may be that those
changes :-wicn occur are within the rhetoric used by society
and that they are not a part of actions taken by various
political and/or social groups within that society. Finally,
since Griffin has already defined the term "rhetorical move-
ment" in another way, it will be better to refer to helical
and rectilinear patterns of movement as "symbolic movements."
The N[eed to Study "Other" Rhetorical Forms
Investigating Ideoloqical Rhetoric
To look beyond situationasll'.-bound rhetoric as a
legitimate object of study, it is necessary to look at forms
of rhetoric other than the usual ones considered by those
scholars primarily, or solely, interested in the narrow scope
of rhetorical studies. Although the appropriate defini-
tional matters will be taken up in Chapter Two, it is
necessary at this point to indicate that the situationally-
unbound rhetoric which will be considered by this study is
the rhetoric of ideology. As Drucker indicates, ideology is
the theoretical basis for a system's doing '.c-hatever it '.ants
or is goinm to do in any event. So, the relationship
--. :-.. DrL.u er, "Mar::'s Concept of Ideology," Philos-
o ._-, :-:.- : .= 1l, 1972) 154.
- :.:.een i : :- -nd r.-e-oric .coes e:-:isr. There is a need
fr :-. r--l:-:.--shio to be e:-plored from a rhetorical friame-
:.:. .= 1:.-. as that framework is an extension of the per-
spe-3_-- ~f situationally-unbound rhetoric and agrees with
Bryant's broad, encompassing view that "rhetoric is primarily
concerned with the relations of ideas to the thoughts, feel-
ings, moti-.'es, and beha-.'ior of men."3
History' Tex:tbooks as Rhetorical Documents
The "other" forms to be utilized as rhetorical docu-
ments are textbooks from American history courses, on the
high school level. This choice is an appropriate result of
the decision to stud- the relationship between rhetoric and
ideology. [rot onl' are high school American history text-
boo!:.s tools of education, but they also have rhetorical func-
tions w*liich deser-.-e further investigation and evaluation.
If ideology is to sur-.vive or be reinforced in a so-
ciety, it must be perpetuated. The time to teach an ide-
ology to a people is when they are "oung, not only because
that is when the" are most impressionable, but also because,
as Draves indicates, in this country at least, "it must be
remembe-ed that for the majority" of students, high school
13r.ald C. Bryant, "Rhetoric: its Function and Scope,"
in The .-:'vince of Rhetoric, ed. b-y Joseph Schwartz and
John .-. ?:.yenga (N!e.., York: The Ronald Press Company, 1965),
p. 22. . article originally appeared in the quarterlyy
Jo'-r:-.: of _cp ech, :X::IX: (December, 1953) 401--24.
S-.-.e n.d i ::.i education." Thus, high school
.-.er -r h_-szr textbooks can be used as the primary
rhe-.rL..- docum-ents of the study if it is understood that
theyL f-inzzion in part to perpetuate the ideology of a
society by telling the story of a nation.
By treating textbooks as rhetorical documents, the
study may provide much needed insight not only into rhetori-
cal aspects of American history textbooks, but also into the
use of systemic arguments by social systems to perpetuate
their own ideologies and popular mythologies. In addition,
by treating textbooks as rhetorical documents, this study
voices agreement with Simons' statement that "among the most
exciting trends in rhetoric today is the application of tools
and y.aristicks of rhetorical criticism to non-ob'.'ious forms
of persuasion, and, in particular, to the rhetoric of academic
discourse." Inr a similar '.ein. Ehninger and his colleagues
call for research in "the theory and practice of forms of
co;r.mun c:ation which hav-e not been in.-estigated as thoroughly
as public address." 1 B isolating textbooks as examples
con-reying situationally-unbound r-hetoric, it is possible to
carry out such research in this 3tud-'.
1Da-.id D. Dra'.es, "lU;ht's Wrong With the Teaching of
History in the High School?" 'The Social Scudies, LVI (-larch,
1965) 10 6.
.1Herbert U. Simons, "Persuasion in Social Conflict: A
Critin'e .f Pr::ev,-';ili.ng Conceptions and a Framework for Future
searc..." Speech o graphs, :::'IX (f[ovember, 1972), 240-2.'
1et al. p. 17
-...-.-L ge et al., p. 217.
If te::-b::~-s seem. i :-n unusual form of rhetoric, it
:.-.:i h rene-ered that situationally-unbound rhetoric
cs_. h- -.:-ke the form of speeches which ma' be fully inves-
ti3ga:=i- -y applying various tests of their effectiveness, by
subjecting them to neo-Aristotelian critical grids, or by
using other convenient devices such as Burke's dramatistic
pentad to help understand the speaker-audience-message rela-
tionship. Rather, situationally-unbound rhetoric is ongoing
and pervasive within a society and might best be given voice
by te:.:tbooks which are designed to teach a system of ideas to
a people across generations. While documents such as official
government policy statements also give voice to the
situ3tionally-unbound rhetoric of ideology, those documents
are more narrow in scope. They tend to be as situational as
speeches or debates. Te::tbooks, however, are themsleves
situationally-unbound and, therefore, reflective of the
situationally-unbound rhetoric they carry.
The Imporcance and Timeliness
of Focusing on War and Peace
Because there is such a mass of topics falling within
the realm of ideological rhetoric, it is necessary to limit
the study to a particular topic. The primary reason for
focusing on the situationally-unbound rhetoric of ideology
as it ar-es_ for and against entry into and withdrawal from
war is really quite simple. America has a tradition of
su--::-rng -.r involvement in wars by appealing to articles
.:.=rican =:ri:;n policy, especially as it relates to
=eria' s pc--ies toward war; Spanier documents the point.
.=ri-:-an depreciation of power and reluctance to
r=::--ize it as a factor in human affairs makes it
ps rnoiogically necessary to rationalize actions
[specifically, wars] in the international arena in
terms of ideological objectives and universal moral
principles. American power must be "righteous" power
used not for purposes of power politics and selfish
national advantage but for the peace and welfare of all
mankind. [One of the results of the rationalization is
a] public image of the United States as a noble and
unselfish crusader on behalf of moral principles.
Thus, the United States appeals to its ideology to ration-
alize its involvement in wars. Part of the goal of this
study is to determine whether the country also teaches those
rationalizations to its children through the high school
American history textbooks surveyed in this study. Such
teaching would facilitate the perpetuation of the ideology.
In addition to this clear appeal to the ideology when
rationalizing wars, it is also clear that there are other
reasons for focusing on wars in this study of ideological
rhetoric. War is a particularly timely topic right now,and
focusing on wars will facilitate studying the symbolic move-
ment of arguments about those wars. The following sections
develop these last two points.
The Top:c Is Timely
a,-1- is a particularly appropriate topic of study right
no, b--es-: or its timeliness. The United States has just
-'Jon "'. Spnier, -jerica.n Foreirgn Policy Since W-orld
:.- -I ;ew i":'-:: Fred~eric;' A. Praeger, Inc. 1960) pp. 85-
.: E te n_'-=znesc war in her near two-hundred-vear-
c- :--: -. -.en as thinking is adjusted to the conclu-
si .. f ..e -;ar, there remains confusion about what caused
and ;-szified United States involvement in that war. It
ma' be--in fact, probably is--too early to examine the
arguments for war and peace which have surrounded the war
in Vietnam, but a study of traditional arguments for and
against war in our society may provide an understanding which
will be useful later, when the arguments for and against war
in Vietnam begin to filter down into high school American
The current confusion is not likely to subside soon.
May indicates that in all likelihood "history teachers in
the 1990's may find this (war] no easier to explain than we
find it today." Perhaps studies -of the type here being
undertaken will help those teachers and their students under-
stand and deal with the ideological interpretations which
Twilll inevitably filter intd the books from which they teach
and learn. ['ot only has the war in Vietnam been a long one,
but it also has been a bitterly debated one which imposed
conditions of war with which even the might might military machine
of the United States was unable to cope. The confusion
caused by this particular war needs to be cleared up.
Perhaps this illumination can be accomplished by recognizing
the fact that the bodi of arguments about .4,ar in general is
r-..st R. May, "What Will Teachers Say ?..bout the
Vietnar. .:,-r?" T' Gainesville Sun, February 11, 1973, p. 1A.
s _lfi --.::. to isolate and study, within the morass of
c-:- -. -- 'e for and subject to investigation.
-- so seems to make sense to study the arguments for
and against war for purely pragmatic reasons. Primary among
these is the fact that the United States has been involved
in several major wars during her relatively short existence,
and those wars have been conveniently spaced at somewhat
regular intervals. Thus, there is a considerable amount of
material about war and peace which can be studied. Bonner
indicates just how many wars the United States has been
Despite her long isolation from the affairs of Europe,
the historical record of the United States has not
been a strikingly pacific one. Since declaring her
independence from Great Britain in 1776, the United
States has been engaged in seven major-wars and such
lesser conflicts as Indian wars, an undeclared war
with France in 1798, and the recent "police action"
in Korea. 19
Although Bonner's statement needs updating to include the
just concluded war in Vietnam, the point to be made here is
that wars are a highly practical focus of study.
The Topic Is Appropriate to the Proposed
In addition to the timeliness and practicality of the
topic, it should also be noted that the topic of war pro-
vides an ideal test for a subthesis of the study. mentioned
-.-.'is :i. Bonner, ".Aerica's Wars and Their Causes:
.s Sear. T-.r-.::h the Eyes of Historians," The Social Sciences,
::L'VII; '-: .-2 195 ) 22.
rlier0, .e.. -.at tne sizuationally-unbound rhetoric of an
i:i:..- -'- .,el take the form of a symbolic mo-ement.
"-.-. .-- reeds of the class change quite radically,"
accord-:.: zo Drucker, "it will ha-.ve to change its theory
too."0 As a result of the fact that wars occur at fairly
regular intervals in the history of the United States,
focusing on war as a topic should provide a workable way to
test the movement thesis that the changing theory of an
ideology can be detected and traced through studying the
situationally-unbound rhetoric of that ideology.
Thus, the original decision to focus on war because
of society's use of ideology to rationalize involvement in
wars is supported by several other reasons. The timeliness
of the subject, the practicality of the subject, and the
ability of the topic to contribute to scholarly investigation
of symbolic movement all add to the value of this choice of
emphasis. As te:.:tbooks can serve well as the vehicle through
which the situationally-unbound rhetoric of ideology is
transmitted, so can w.ar serve as the topic of the rhetoric
which is so transmitted.
The [lethodological Aoproach of the Study
The first three sections of this chapter have concerned
themselves with justifying this dissertation as a legitimate
corncerr. fr rhetorical schclarship. In designing the study,
Drucker, p. 154.
n .=.3 z z- -.-'ry tc recognize zhe validity of Duhamel's
:3 r--... :.: ..-.. "rhetoric occupies a peculiar position
ar--.- -.=: arzs and that it cannot be adequately interpreted
apart fr=-n he ideological context in which it appears."21
In fact, this study goes beyond that recognition and is
designed as a study which will investigate the rhetoric of
the ideology itself.
Defining and Explaining the Function of Ideology
An underlying assumption of this study is that not only
is rhetoric grounded in its ideology, but also that it plays
a role in the attempt to perpetuate that ideology. The
overall purpose for this study may be summarized as (1) an
attempt to develop a theoretical conceptualization about the
way ideology is perpetuated through the use of systemic argu-
ments, (2) an analysis of high school American history
textbooks to determine how widespread the use of systemic
arguments is in those textbooks; and (3) an attempt to deter-
mine whether the systemic arguments on war and peace reflect
a symbolic movement which can be analyzed from a perspective
of situationally-unbound rhetoric.
Since an understanding of the concept of ideology is cen-
tral to the theoretical foundation of this entire study, Ch-ap-
ter T;o willl be devoted to a discussion of this concept from
P. Albert Dunam.el, "Trie Function of Rhetoric as Effec-
ti':e E:-.r -ssion," in The Province of Rhetoric, ed. by Joseph
Sc.'ar-:r .:-. John A. F'.cenga (ie' York: The Ronald Press
Ccr: *D -:L :-': -,) o 36 .
.-.= -..i -r. s f its (1) definition and (2) function--
-.:--"-. ifinition of systemic argument, which is a
ts.-l :.-r_ :.-. -iich ideologies function rhetorically. Poli-
tical r:ha-ists will provide the bulk of the material about
ideolcg:. H. Mi. Drucker, Karl Mannheim, Miladin Zivotic,
and Abraharr Edel are among those who will be contributing to
the study and are illustrative of the theorists whose works
were sought out while the author was developing the material
in this area. The rhetorical function of ideology will be
abstracted from the writings of political theorists like
Amelie Rorty and M. Rejai and of rhetorical theorists and
critics like Richard Weaver, Herbert Simons, and Michael
Osborn. These short lists of names are not, of course, all-
inclusive but are meant to provide an indication of the
kinds of sources which will be used in this chapter.
E::plaining History's Role in Perpetuating Ideology
In Chapter Three, history's role as a storehouse and
con-veyor of systemic arguments on war and peace will be dis-
cussed. Here, then, will be a description of the differ-
ences in (1) what history is ideally and (2) .what it is in
practice. Included will be a discussion of the historian's
role in the ideal and in the practical functions of history.
These sections will depend for support primarily on his-
toriographers such as David Fischer and Ed.,-ard Carr. In
the final section of the chapter, those cr-oblems peculiar to
- -;-"r ::-: :::s will be emphasized. The supporting mate-
i-l f:r- -:.-3. tczion will be provided by rhetorical scholars
suec.- s =zer: Scott and Donald K. Smith; textbook analysts
such .s R:.' Billington, Jack Nelson, and Gene Roberts, Jr.;
and teachers of high school American history courses.
Identify'ing and Describing the Textbooks
Chapter Four will contain a description of the argu-
ments gleaned from surveyed high school American history
textbooks. The primary objective will be to describe the
data which result from the textbook survey. To facilitate
this description, the statements gathered from the text-
books will be grouped into systemic arguments favoring Ameri-
can entry into wars, arguments opposing American entry, into
wars, and whatever other groupings grow out of the survey.
The data will be organized in such a way that they can be
used easily in support of the analyses which will complete
Since it is obvious that not all high school American
history te:-tbooks can be read, this study will survey only
those books wnich have been identified by other scholars as
being the most popular and, thus, the must widely read dur-
ing the fifty--ear period covered by this study. Because
of the refusal of publishing houses to release sales figures,
these scholars have had to use other methods of determining
:h ich te::-boo':s l:a.e been the most widely used. Biilington,
fo. e:-:.l- L cc.pilcd his lis fcr the early 1960's by
:r-iir.ing re-:r s=,lied to hLm by the nation's leading
- -.- ri-ies :-. teaching ..erican history in secondary educa-
.-.. -.e list Billington developed and similar lists for
other _-.e -eriods have been combined to form the master list
for t'ris study. Books and doctoral dissertations in textbook
analysis have been the primary sources for building this list.
Lists were found which identify the most widely" used textbooks
as far back as the 1920's, thus enabling the study to include
an analysis of the books today's government leaders and older
voters would have been exposed to while in high school.
The materials to be gathered from the books.--Once gain-
ing access to these books which will be used as the rhetori-
cal documents of the study', the author will read the discus-
sions in those books of major wars to identify the following:
(1) all reasons listed by each text for American entry into
each war; (2) all reasons cited. by each text for withdrawing
from each war, and (3) all cited dissenting arguments against
entry into or withdrawal from each war. These statements
will be e:-:amined to determine how to group them and how to
describe those groupings.
Identifying and describing arguments.--Once the argu-
ments have been identified, their distribution across wars
and across time will be described. The concepts of helical
andi rec-ilinear movement will be useful in describing the
:a l-.llen Billington, The Historian's Contribution
t .-.. lo-.--.ri-an Hlisunderstanding (lew. York: Hobbs, Dorman
* .::.: ani, I- -. 1966.
__. ?.-:-_--=.ar mn.ovement may be noted in answers provided
-.--~-: s Tc -nese questions: (1) What changes take place
in .-.e reasons for different wars? (2) What differences may
be fou-nd in textbooks with significant time periods separat-
ing their publication dates? (3) What differences can be
noted in the use of systemic arguments in books published
during war periods .'%hen compared with those published during
peace time? Do those published during wars tend to be more
Second, the concept of helical movement will be help-
ful in describing the answers to these questions: (1) To
what extent do reasons recur across periods of time separat-
ing wars? (2) To what extent do arguments recur across
periods of time separating publication of te::tbooks? (3) Are
any arguments used to explain entry into all wars?
Anal.'sis and Evaluation of Systemic Arguments
Chapter Five will provide an analysis and evaluation of
the arguments for and against American entry into wars.
This chapter will utilize data from the surveyed high school
American history te::tbooks and from the definitive works on
each war to answer such questions as (1) To what e:-tent is
the ideology a false reflection. of reality? and (2) To what
e:-:tent do Presidential war messages serve as sources of
Ser-i.-ia as a basis for analysis and evaluation will oe
answers r-r.-cidd by the te:xtb3ok survey to these ques ions:
'") To *..;hat e:-:--:, are sysce-ic arguments e::plained or
i-cor:ed? 7.) Do the patterns of movement detected in the
a:,.-,-s -r'.-ide sufficient data to describe the symbolic
mo-v=.r... .f ideology? (3) Wlhat is the role of systemic
arguments in simplifying the reasons cited by -definitive war
histories for entry into the wars? -(4) How widespread is the
use of systemic arguments in the rhetorical discourse of the
textbooks surveyed? (5) What generalizations can be drawn
concerning the correlation between a war's generating con-
troversy and its being explained in terms of systemic argu-
ments? (6) What is the tone of the arguments set forth by
the textbook authors?
The final section of Chapter Five will discuss the con-
clusions and implications of the study. It will make some
general projections about how the results of this study
might be used in future research studies and how the results
might be used by and useful to the various contributing
The Contribution of this Study
Each dissertation is expected to make an original con-
tribution to learning. Most contributions in rhetoric and
public address tend to be very specific because of the focus
on sit:r--l nall'-bound rhetoric. Focusing, as it does, on
sit'-1 -oni Lv-u-nbou.lnd rhetoric, however, this study proposes
c -.:e a -if~r-ent kind of contribution. The stud '' will
rr from different, yet overlapping, fields of learning.
?-: :olici:l theorists from philosophy, political science,
..... --iical sociology will contribute an understanding of
the meanlng and function of ideology. Historians will pro-
vide the definitions and descriptions of history and of
historians and will indicate what their roles in society are.
Textbook analysts will provide lists of the books to be
surveyed and will provide suggestions which will help iden-
tify ideology's role in those textbooks. Rhetorical
theorists and critics will provide the concepts necessary to
describe and evaluate the rhetorical aspects of materials
Since the contribution will grow out of the integration
of these diverse fields, this study will be interdisciplin-
ary in nature. Each of the fields contributing to the study
will also receive insights into itself gained from over-
lapping with other areas. Thus, the ultimate contribution
of this study will be in the areas of broadening the scope
of rhetorical studies and of encouraging further interdis-
ciplinary studies of rhetoric.
I. Some Problems of Studying Ideology
II. Defining Ideology
A. It Has Its Origins in Class Theor.'
B. Ideology Is Pervasive
C. Ideology Is an "Official" Political Dictum
D. Ideology Is Generic
III. Ideology's Function
A. Ideology Reflects Society's Self-Image
B. Ideology Moves Society Rhetorically by [leans
of Systemic Arguments
C. Ideology Encourages Belief in Itself
Some Problems of Studying Ideology
Essential to a study of ideological rhetoric is an
understanding of the concept of ideology. There are a
number of areas of learning one might turn to for such
understanding, for the concept is treated by scholars in
many different fields. For the purposes of a rhetorical
study, however, one is forced to turn one's attention out-
ward, since the persuasion theorists tend not to deal with
the concept of ideology. Emphasis is perhaps best placed or.
political cheorists from sociology and philosophy.
Political theorists in sociology are concerned with the
way men are mov'.d by each other and by society as a whole
within the conte:-:t of a social structure such as the focus of
this study., the United States. Political theorists in
philosophy tend to be more generic in their concerns, al-
though they, too, tend to focus on particular societies.
Those who are concerned with political and social philosophy
tend to ha'.-e much the sarme focus as political sociologists
and, thus, supplement undierstanJing of the concept of
i:lieolo.-v: leaned from that area. It should be noted that
ecific '..'ci---:e:s sch as Eel, n-berle, and Leff really
.: ':- "-_.: ro rany one discipline of academe but tend,
.- i, -:: claimed or utilized by all disciplines
inr---r-- in a broad theoretical understanding of concepts,
sucr. as -deology, which play a significant role in explain-
ing iman in society.
A specific problem encountered in dealing with ideology
is an inability to recognize that everyone in society is
ruled by and depends on ideology. Laymen seem to be unable
or unwilling to acknowledge t;-.eir ow.-n dependence on ideology
to govern their lives. The tendency is to believe one's own
approach to life is the "right" approach, wi.hile those in
opposition to this approach are being ruled by an ideological
.-ie.' of the '..'orld. Perhaps the only '.,.ay' to deal '.:ith an
ideology is to step bac.k for a while and, as Mannheim sug-
gests, "look at it 'from without.'" Since an ideology is
so much of the '.ay one sees the worldld ho'..ever, to accompLish
this task of vie..'ing ideology from '.without one must engage
in w.,hat Mannheiin described as "suspending, for a time, the
whole complex: of its assumptions, thus doing something other
than 'hat is prescribed in it at first glance."-
Adding to the difficulty of dealing .with ideology as
a concept is the fact that the '.:ord itself has highly
'-*''nnheim, From Karl Miannheim,. ed. hy P.urr H.
';l 'f .;-. _r-k: Oxford Univ--.:sity Press, 1971), p. 119.
.-.:: -- .-.-z l.ionr:s in this society. One tends to believe
:-:r.--e.----i --kesmen when they tell him that what he be-
liev- : s -rue and factual, while what his enemies say is
mere :--i:e gical nonsense. Thus, one problem of this study
is to recognize the validity of Heberle's statement thit
"in popular language, the term ideology is often used in a
derogatory sense, as if the political opponents were inten-
tionally dishonest in their proclamations of purposes, creeds,
and beliefs."3 Part of the task of escaping this pejorative
sense is to realize that "ideology has no such derogatory
connotation," again using Heberle's phraseology, and to
unload the term by providing it with a neutral definition.4
Drucker's statement is true that "until very recently
'ideology' was almost always used pejoratively. It was, as
the philosophers used to put it, a 'boo-word'. This is to
say that describing something as 'ideological' was a '..ay of
The truth of Drucker's statement should serve as ad-
ditional incentive to define the term, as is the primary
function of this chapter. Once that task is accomplished,
the remainder of the chapter wi-ll be spent describing and
3Pudolph Heberle, Social .ovements: An Introduction
to Political Socioloqg (ew York: Appleton-Century-Cro ts,
1951) p. 28.
5.. Dru.:-er, "Mar::'s Concept of Ideology, Philoso-
hy, L-- april, 1 72) 157.
=.-: laniing :. e an'.. uCon of the concept of ideology
5ince zt-.os .-.-acteriscics also .-.ill be important to this
Edel appears to be correct in claiming that "objective
truth in social theory is unattainable."6 Perhaps a truth
is near at hand, however, when it becomes clear that most
theorists about ideology, whether their approaches are
specific or general, tend to hav.'e compatible definitions--
all of them reflecting a concern with ideas, beliefs, and
values which guide society.
For purposes of this study, ideology may be defined as
a system of beliefs, ideas, and.'or value judgments which
function to justify the operations of a social structure--
including its actions taken and positions held--and to
codify the popular political mycholo.g of that society. it
has its origins in class theory. It is pervasive. It is an
"official" political dictum. It is generic.
It Has Its Origins in Class Theorv
While it has been easy to keep in mind Drucker's state-
ment that "the concept of ideology as we no.. use it . .
stem[s] from Karl Mar:-:," it is also easy to lose sight of
S--:L- electionsos on Id_-ology," Pra:is (1967. p. 567.
Edl' : f'll assertion is th-?. "ideologies are thus fund nmen-
t-ll- irnco-:arable, objecti.-e truth in social theory is
-.---:sinable, erh3ps even altogether meaningless."
-. : .-.- '. ::r;-:-, as the concept's originator, developed
.:-.: -: : : I2deoldgy in conjunction with his developing
tr..eLrifs auz che way, classes interact and deal with each
other -.n he struggles which mark unstable social situations.
Drucker calls attention to the fact that each class must
have its guiding principles.
One of the needs of every class is a theory which will
orient it to its world and prescribe its future tasks.
Since the needs of the class change radically it will
have to change its theory too. Throughout its life
the theorists of the class will search assidously for
whatever factual or scientific basis for their preconcep-
tions they can find. When no such basis can honestly
be found, something which looks like one will be
patched up and put forward. Honest or not, a class
will exalt as "true" that theory which seems to provide
good reason for actions it wants to take in any case.8
It takes little imagination to realize that class can be
broadened to indicate a whole, basically homogeneous, so-
ciety, but the fact remains that understanding of the con-
cept of ideology grew out of a concern with classes. A
'brief focus on classes at this point will help indicate the
extent to '..hich ideology permeates a society.
Classes and other subgroups are microcosms of the
larger society and they e:
the debate about whether or not the United Sta-tes is a
classless society would be beyond the scope of this stud.'
and is irrelevant for its purposes. But it is clear that
7Dr'c-.er, p. 152
., p. 154.
.-_.,s.-. cl~--3s =s groups ,;iihin a larger society will assist
.-. e-r.-.--.; t-he pervasiveness of ideology within society.
5E e::--.--.- nhe fact that subideoloqies exist throughout
a -scL ez., it will be easier to understand the notion that
an overall ideology permeates the society as a whole. Fur-
thermore, by acknowledging the degree of allegiance each
group has to its own subideological underpinnings, it will
be easier to understand and appreciate the potential for an
entire society to be dominated and moved by its ideology.
Ideology Is Pervasive
To begin, then, it should be acknowledged that whether
one terms them classes or they even meet the technical defini-
tional requirements of classes, there are many distinct
groups in the country which can be identified. Religious
groups, ethnic groups, geographic groups, social groups,
etc., all e:.-ist in the country, and each has its own sub-
ideology. Each of these groups, in other words, has a
system of thought which governs the behavior of its members
when they are in contact with each other. There are at
least two supporting arguments for this line of analysis.
First, it should be noted that subideologies are in
essence part of the larger ideology and draw their substance
from the parent ideology. Lane, for example, indicates
that ideologies of groups "are [inevitably] torn from their
:.z e::t in a ar-b-er belief system, and share the structural
.-.- s-'L is :. properties of that system."
:--.:., it is clear that groups have alleg iance to the
pare..: :-oogoy. Obviously, subideologies overlap and, at
times, conflict. When they conflict, the prevailing ideology
tends to be that of the parent group. In most situations,
for e:-:ample, if there were to be a conflict between "the
American WJay" and 'the ideological stance of one of the smaller
groups, the overriding American ideology would be the pre-
vailing factor in making a decision. Allegiance would
follow; the same pattern as formation of the ideologies.
That is, since subideologies grow out of a broader ideology,
the primary allegiance would be first to the parent ideology
and second, to the subideology. Garstin indicates that
allegiance to an ideology is strong primarily because, no
matter ho-; much change takes place within an ideology,
"there always remains a hard core of beliefs which is con-
stant and unchanging."10
Furthermore, according to Garstin, the ideology itself
forbids deviation of belief. Here again, then, the ranking
order of the ideologies wouldl d determine the depth of com-
mitment ro each. Garstir e:.:plains that ideologies are
-: t E. Lane, Political ideology (New York: The
Fre 'e ?:Es Glencoe, 1962), p. 15.
L. H. rstin, Each Age Is a Dream (New York: Bouregy
; : In:.. 5 ) p. 79.
.. "-=red by an "L.-.:--ie n---ce [:-.. h] is usually revealed in a
.-.r-..ess : iccrirne which forbids deviation from the
=--.- ...Z' from rhe accepted principles and propositions
w:-=.-. ::.-.-:ute the ideologies, and in a fanatical belief
in their absolute rightness." Thus, even if a subideology
decided to oppose the pa-ent .ideology on a particular issue--
an unlikely situation--it .would be exposed to harsh, unre-
lenting pressure to "get back in line."
Ideology Is an "Official" Political Dictum
Ideology tends to be an "official" political dictum.
Even when it is not actually an official government pro-
nouncement, it has about it an official appearance. It
evokes political mythology to help maintain its po..er; it
evokes various propagandistic symbols to help in its e::pan-
sion efforts; and, tying all these matters together is the
fact that ideology tends to be stated. The starting point,
however, is that ideology is seen as being official.12
Adorno indicates that ideology is "a highly developed system
Ibid., p. 4.
1It should be acknowledged that political theorists
from Plato to Hobbes have argued that governmental leaders
have the right and responsibility to deceive the people of the
state w-.he those leaders deem that such deception would be
in the besc interests of the state. It is not a purpose of
this sz .i_ to argue the efficacy of such deception. Rather,
this s-_ simol, acknowledges the e::istence of such deception
of i,_i3.-y and sets out to :-:xamine and develop some theo-
retc.-a c:..repts which may be useful in examining the
r2-.-_ ric of iieolo7g which is used to deceive the populace
i s ra e.
: i-fiial e=rs."- Further, according to Simons, any
.- -s .-.i- occur within society "must necessarily be
c.... in the larger system's interests."4 Since con-
trcL .= _--:ng expressed, then, ideology always appears to
be ofi ial.
At this point, a difference between ideology and atti-
tude should be indicated for the benefit of those who might
consider attitude to be very similar to ideology. Attitudes
are not "official," but are personal. According to Ostron,
an attitude "exists in a personal and situational conte::t.''5
Ideo.logy', of course, appears to be official and tends to
transcend situational limita-cions. Further, a group of
people may share an attitude, but they are rarely expected
to do so as is the case w'.ith an ideology. All people within
a society are expected to learn and accept the ideology.
Ideologies evoke political r.yths in part because ,nyths
tend to reinforce beliefs '.hl:Ich the people may have and in
part because myths help simplify the rather co,.ple:< issues
with '.-'hich ideologies deal. Theorists who discuss the role
Theod,:r W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Bruns;wik, David J.
Le-;inson, and R. Ne'.vitt Sanford, The Authoritarian Person-
alit'.' (rew.. York: Harper anrd Brothers, 1952) p. 162.
Herbert W. Simons, "Persu.asion in Social Conflict:
A Critic. e of Prevailing Conceptions and a Frame'.-or;k for
Future I=_:- rch," Speech :Ionocraphs Y>::.I (No.'e.ber 1972)
--.-o-_ :!. Ostrom, "T-e Emergence of Attitude Theor''y:
S .-- 5 Psycho logical :1 F u::dations of Attitudes, ed. b'
..-.-.-. Gr- e.:'; 1 Tir.-I:',th:- C. Brock, and Tho I.r a '.1. Ostrorn
: ork: .. --. i-c Press, 1968), p. 12.
:. :th vi:..-r. Lealog see-i to agree with Sorel that "a
-.-.-. -.r: e -refuted, since it is, at bottom, identical
.-:_ : -.- :::.-.ictions of a group. 16 Horowitz, for example,
wh--.n l-3ssing Sorel's theory, adds that "the myth is
stroke: tzhan a fact; it is a belief."7
There seems to be no doubt among these theorists that
political myth is closely aligned -.,ith ideology. Lasswell
and Kaolan, for e::ample, assert quite simply that ideology
"is the political myth functioning to preserve the social
sturcture," and that the political myth "consists of the
symbols evoked not only to explain but also to justify
specific power practices." 9 PReai goes further by indicat-
ing that ideology must simplify its primary messages if such
messages are to be comLmunicated successfully: "The myth in
ideology is socially and historically conditioned. It com-
municates a fairly complex. : message in simplified form, w-hich
is indeed a hallmark of all ideology. Successful communica-
tion of ideology and its myth(s) will not take place except
16Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence, trans. by
T. E. Huime (London: George Allen &. Un.;w n Ltd., 191.5), p. 33.
Ir7.-ing Louis Horow'.itz, Radicalism and the Revolt
Against Reason (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University
Press, 1951), p. 135.
.:-:_old D. Lasswell and -.braham Kaplan, Power and
Socie-_-: .; Framew'ork for Political Inquir: (iew Haven:
Yale '_- ,vesit. Press, 19l5 : .
..ruh si-i. Such simplification will be seen
S--- p--- primarily through the use of systemic argu-
-_: o. zhe long-ranc:e purpose of any ideology is to
e:-:pand -ts influence and power. Such expansion is encour-
aged and reinforced by.evoking symbols around which large
numbers of people can rally. The evoking of symbols, accord-
ing to Garstin, is primarily a propagandistic operation:
"Symbols, slogans, songs, parades, rallies, study groups and
socials. are all made use of in diffusing ideologies, as are
such techniques as name-calling, mud-slinging, and glitter-
ing generalities, to name a few other devices."
Finally, it should be noted that ideology is not simply
some vague collection of meaning which never is made public.
Quite the contrary, ideologY does indeed tend to be stated,
frequently and publicly. Heoerle documents the point. "One
rarely finds a well-organized, systematic presentation.
Ideologies are usi.ally formulated in proclamations, resolu-
tions, speeches, programs, platforms, pamphlets, essays, and
Attitudes, on the other hand, are not openly expressed.
In fact, one can know an attitude only by inferring it from
.. -e]a. Decline of Ideology? (Chicago: Aldine-
Ather::-., 197L) p. 6.
--Fudo_. -!tere Social .lo..eme:t. : An Introduction
Dl tical E o log (; e-.-.. Yor.:: ApnpIeton-Centurv-Crrfts,
i951) p. 25.
:- :--i .-.5 or front overt behavior. Cronkhite indicates
-.--- .ie o measure of 'attitudes' except 'overt
be.:::---.'" OOvert behavior, then, indicates attitudes,
an2 _c7-l'-des may be given voice through stated opinions,
but ar.ciudes themselves generally are not stated. Betting-
haus concludes the point by indicating that "it seems useful
to retain the notion of attitude as a conceptual bridge be-
tw...een an individual's psychological states and his overt
behavior. The collection and evaluation of opinion state-
ments provide the best estimate of attitude."
Ideology Is Generic
The further one pursues an investigation of ideology,
the clearer it becomes that ideology is a very general con-
cept which provides the ultimate justification for a
society's operations. In essence, ideology is the generic
justification for all the specific actions or stances a
society may wish to take. Aiken elaborates on zhe point by
stressing the generic nature of ideology.
Nio.,r political ideology is nothing but political dis-
course (as distinct from political science) on its
most general formative ici.el. It is, that is to say,
political discourse insofar as the latter addresses
itself, not just to specific, piecemeal reforms, but
to zhe guiding principles, practices, and aspirations
SG3 r. Crosnkhite, Persu.asion: Speech and Behavioral
Chance (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1969),
-r.- ?. Betinghaus, Persuasive Communicationi (,e
Yor'-: :1- .nahairt and Winston, Inc. 1968) p. 22.
5b' :'ic.-. 7::-_-_il-. or:_ -.nied societies absolutely,
.or e1s .. ercain typical situations, ought to be
.-er.-:. This being so, political ideologies inevi-
-b L-. --:de, among their leading articles, state-
-:.:s general principle or method and expressions
-: : attitude, orientation, and concern which, as
l..- nd, are so highly abstract as to appear to many
.-:. preoccupied with day-to-day problems of "practi-
al politics" virtually meaningless. Such statements
car of course habitually formulated in terms li!e
"general welfare," "common yood," "justice," "equality,"
democracyv," securityv," and the rest.25
As Aiken indicates, the generic nature of ideoloqv, makes it
difficult for many to deal with, but it is generic precisely
because it is the ultimate authority to which any societal
appeal is carried. It must be general and abstract enough
to handle any specific situation which ma. arise in the day-
to-day functions of explaining and justifying actions taken
or stances held on the part of the society as a whole.
An attitude, unlike an ideology, is grounded in the
psychological states of individuals. As such it is much
narrower than ideology. It applies to the situations en-
countered by individuals, and does not transcend situations
for whole nations. As was indicated earlier, attitudes may
be sh-irc- by large numbers of people but, while ideoloqges
are tied- to societies, attitudes are primaril.- relate. to
indi-iduals. As Bettinghaus indicates, "an att3.tude . .is
an individual's structure or organization of psychological
process=_e." t us, Ldeologies are generic, attitudes specific.
-:.-.r: D v Aiken, e "T':. 'e'.olt Aga nst Ideology, in
Th_ .: f i: le.-.i o Debate, ed., b- Chaim I. '.-axman (ne.
r..: -.n..: i :.-.agna ls, 1968; ". 251-252.
.-. -.:-. -eoloy is a hiqhlv intangible concept, it
c3-s .-a-- = ertin identifiable functions within a society.
To :r-. e:-:rent that it fulfills those functions, it mani-
fests i:seif in ways that can be dealt with in a study such
as this one. ;n ideology serves at least three functions
within a society.. First, it tends to reflect the wishes and/
or theoretical underpinnings of a societal structure at
large. In this sense, it matters not whether the reflection
is rLealistic or accurate because, if me.n in society believe
in the ideology, they, will accept it and act in accordance
with it. Pejai indicates that "beliefs, in short, say noth-
ing about the truthfulness or falsity of a notion or an
attitude; they imply only a psychological state of accep-
tance." The ideology pro'.-ides a codification for thcse
Second, ideology. tends to help move society" to new
positions or to reinforce already held positions. This
second function tends to be performed through the use of
sys-tem.c arguments, a rhetorical tool which will be defined
when both functions are ex
ideology encourages the belief amriong members of society that
its articles are true.
Ideology Reflects Society's Self-Imaq-e
'The rflecting function of ideology is iniherently
-~.~:e -. ...:e- vilrtuaily all societies have a set of
.:-- f ,. _'zh chey support their own "right" approach to
e::is-.-.e, rnev must all be considered "ill" in the sense
than o system of beliefs can reflect reality with a high
degree of accuracy, especially during times when the reality
may be injurious to the well-being of that society, or to
its sense of well-being. The overall reflective function of
an ideology, then, is to maintain an image which reflects
the wishes of the society at large, whether or not that
reflection is accurate beyond the confines of the society.
Since an ideology is seen primarily as a set of ideas,
beliefs, and values which are accepted and acted upon by
society, it functions in part to reflect the .way a society
sees itself. But it should be pointed out that this reflec-
tion is not necessarily accurate. After all, the society
has an image of itself that may or may not be in keeping
with the reality of any. given situation. An ideology will
tend to reinforce those thinqrs which are believed, and acted
upon and ignore those things which are contrary to the be-
liefs of the society. An ideology, in short, will not con-
tradict itself, but will generally reflect conditions not
perhaps as they are, but as custodians of the ideology wish
them to be seen.
C .'.stdia ns of ideolcc; is not a pejorative labri,
as -.a :- Lnplied by sone. C-rstin defines the phrase as
rcferrl-._ : "a leadership V; o act as their [ideologis']
of ici :is:lrs. Their philosophers provide the
'ff1icia ,i- events :oncernin; ideological policy and these
Tr is, if:-r all, the z.:=todiarLs who, according to
-s-:in. see -c :t that "ideologies are protected from
ss- :s r._- zart] b the use of .. abstract statements
[w..c :, If skillfully worded, are not only, difficult to
analyze ouz are also subject to a multitude of interpreta-
tions."-' These abstract statements may be one reason why
ideologres tend to be viewed pejoratively, as w.as explained
earlier. Abstract statements which seem to obscure reality
may be seen by those holding an opposite -.view as referring
to what Edel described as viewss that were somehow bent out
of shape, distorted to seem brighter. than the reality they
If the way a society sees itself through an ideology
is that society's self- i:nmage, then virtually y all so-
cieties are reflected by ideologies which distort reality.
In fact, no society can stand off and: view itself directly.
Thus, no society can have an accurate self-image. A true
picture might perhaps be concei'.'able, but only in a society
either so unstructured as to be without ideology or in the
midst of such great social change or turmoil that it would
be impossible for the society to delude itself into ignoring
the harsh reality of the situation. Such conditions,
:3taterma-.2s are to be accepted by the supporters of the
ideolo s withoutou t question (p. -). Operationally, the
term r-e- rs to the official spokesmen for a society, be
the_ :.-e---..=nt leaders, party officers, or political
tn..:ris:s .-.w formulate the ideological positions.
Edel, 1 565.
.. ;- -r- '- rare. Thus, virtually y all societies
".I r :fi---r reality in a distorted way."
Ide .l:D '.::ves Society Rhetorically
by .-le_.-.' f SystCmic Argumenns
Sysvemic argument needs to be defined. Despite fre-
quent negative reaction to the concept of ideology, that
reaction should be expected because, in part, of the
rhetorical and argumentative function of ideology. It has
already been shown that the use of abstraction leads to
misunderstanding. But it should also be noted that the '.ery
.act of espousing an ideology is inherently rhetorical.
Part of the concern at this point is to define the type of
rhetoric being used by ideology, so that the process of
peL-petuati.ng ideology can be better understood.
The rhetorical function of ideology is described best
in terms of syst..mic argument. Perhaps a definition of
systemic argument should be prefaced with Weaver's admoni-
tion "that the language of definition is inevitably the
language of qeneralitv, because only the generalizeable is
definable. Singulars and indi'.-iuals can be described but
not defined."1 Thus, until data have. been gleaned from the
tex:tbooks ..;hich '.ill provide such details, it '.;ill not be
possible to describe the specifics of systemic arguments.
But, an o'.er'iew definition of systemic argument can be
S--.ai Wea'.,ei2, The E-ihics of Phetoric (Chicago:
:-:.'ry -:-. r- Comnan,, 1953) 'p. 70.
e-ined in_ t.-.e? :r:.c=3 of usin.g that definition to describe
_ -_bi--:' ic_ :. ideology.
c^h --e an ideological system engages in explanation
of i-s =zi-.-s or its policies to its subjects or those out-
side it3 .;n societal jurisdiction, it is in a kind of
symbolic conflict with those people, because it is directing
argum-ents toward them. Since the situationaliy-unbound
rhetoric of ideology ends to be argumentative in nature, it
can bes: be defined as systemic argument: an assertion of
putative fact which functions as a justification for actions)
taken or positions held on the part of the social structure.
Such an argument is addressed to the public at large and is
intended to instruct the populace as to TJhat action and/or
attitude in the situation being considered is mrost in keeping
with the articles of ideology.
Within the framework of ideology, a systemic argument
is a specific philosophical justification for an action
taken or a conclusion drawn. Thus, ideology attempts to
fulfill its rhetorical function of justifying action to the
people by use of systemic arguments. It assumes the people
are generally in agreement and support actions being taken
and that, primarily, it needs to explain the action by relat-
ing tha- action rhetorically to those ideological articles
people -.l- to be true. The channel to use in the exr:lana-
tic.. s:.uld 'be readily av.ailabie if Simons is correct in
s-~-1:-.- hat .tiher ideological statements have long been
passed on by ei_-ca'zos. "-:- disseminationr of culturally
-;rro-ed values as 'fact' has been a historic function of
-a i--s, a means by which social order is legitimate and
S.-ui often, the social order needs this legitimation,
because the action being taken is of such a nature that it
must be related clearly to ideological beliefs if it is to
be assured of solid support on the part of the people. Such
would obviously be the case when such'action is highly con-
troversial and has engendered debate among various factions
of the populace. Even when debate or social dissent is not
likely, however, the action should always be related to
generally accepted ideological values to assure popular sup-
port of these actions. Rorty indicates that the reference
to ideology is essential.
If it is the very criteria for interest and good that
arc at issue, the argument must still proceed by
reference to some further conception of a human value.
This ideological point goes hand in hand with a seman-
tic one: no argument for change will be comprehensiv-e
unless it is phrased in terms that can be understood
as appealing to accepted canons of -alue."33
As part of understanding what a systemic argument is,
it is necessary to know something about its source or origin.
The systemic argument may originate in a -ariety of ways. A
systemic arguwme-nt may be a part of any written document which
-- :.ns, op. 241.
."'Amal O-.senberg Rorty "aturalism, Paradigms, and
If .cig_-," T.e Rev'iew of Nletop'.ysics, XXIV (June, 1971), 652.
:rm-s part o a arnersco.ne for the ideological system. In
--:- ase, :-- ar-gument 'ill very probably have originated
1-. w.ri-:-.s of one or more of the philosophers or
pc l-c-_-i r--orists whose thoughts formed the argumentative/
philosc,.--.cal support for the type of society set forth by
custodians of ideology.
On the other hand, a systemic argument may develop out
of a particular, narrow debate on a specific issue. Some
"ideal" combination of words may be invented in the heat of
debate which supports the ideological position so well that
it is quoted e::tensively by others, with the likely result
that soon the originator is lost sight of and only his words
remain. When encountering this type of instance, it is easy
to react in much the same way Griffin did when he discovered
the role played by unknown speakers in historical movements:
"We may come to a more acute appreciation of the signifi-
cance of the historically insignificant speaker, the minor
orator who, we may find, is often the true fountainhead of
the moving flood of ideas and words.'34 Some of the most
prevalent systemic arguments may have been originated by very
minor spokesmen for the ideology.
Thus, a systemic argument may become a commonplace as
its use I:.-reases. But the coMMLionplace nature of systemic
argumen-s a .s to their effectiveness, because they are not
"Lela-. :I. Griffin, "The Rnetoric of Historical Move-
.-. s, Q arzerlyv Journal of Speech, -:X'VIII (April, 1952),
-=.-. r- -r:=--e. as blacan.t propaganda devices. The
= r_- =-_- -.a ~, also may be strong because of the argumen-
ta-::-e a--il made to the authority of the ideology as a
whcle. ..-.5 then, of course, the great power of presumption
rests u.lth the status quo.
The tie-in ideology has with rhetoric is perhaps best
illustrated by the fact that when used by ideology, rhetoric
maintains the essentially pragmatic function which was de-
scribed by florris as being one which deals with the "relation
of signs to their interpreters."35 Systemlc arguments, in
a sense, are the rhetorical middle men which serve to relate
the overriding ideology to the people in society. Sy',stemLc
arguments, of course, are used by the ideology custodians to
help in establishing and perpetuating the inherently inaccu-
rate picture of reality sought ar..d reflected by ideology.
In this sense, the collective purpose of systemic argu-
ments is similar to that ascribed by Simons to other system-
orientat ions: "however reasonable they may appear in
35Charles W. Morris, "Foundations of Theory of Signs,"
International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, I (July, 1933),
in this sense, systemic arguments perform the same
basic function attributed by BEtzer to rhetoric as a whole.
He said that rhetoric "comes into existence for the sake of
something be ond itself; it functions ultimately to produce
action ol change in the world; in performs some task. In
short, rhetoric is a mode of altering reality (Lloyd F
Bir.z, "T-e Rhetorical Situation," Phi ioophy and Rhetoric,
I [1in'.r. i9 8] 3). Of courL-se, Bitzer is at this point
l:;so aie-rl.-g tne meaning of rhetoric somewhat. There are
-:-.es .*..=.-. _r-.e-oric reflects reality quite accurately. Sys-
te..ic -:: .---.: on the other hand, alv.':a s alter reality since
= -. -: --. is an inherent psrt of the ideologies they
-r--. p --rc-ice they ha-.-e constituted indiscriminate
:.-._ fz- -..e preservation of the existing systems and
r -.. p-riileged persons who would wield power thinn
the y'stemic arguments are no different. They, too,
are used by the ideology custodians to help preserve the
system. The custodians seek to convince the populace, or
reinforce their already held belief, th.t the ideological
interpretation of reality is in fact the reflection of
reality they should accept as accurate.
This rhetorical function of ideology should dispel the
more idealistic view of rhetoric's function given voice by
Bry'.ant- "Rhetoric recognizes the strength of the fictions
men live by, as well as those they li-.e under; and it aims
to fortify the one and explode the other. "'. He seems to
be correct in saying that rhetoric "is concerned with
-values,"' but he fails to acknowledge the -.alidity of the
charge made by Frye that "rhetorical value-judgments are
closely related to social values and are usually cleared
through a customshouse of moral metaphors: sincerity,
subtlety, simplicity, and the like."'40 While Fr.'ye's own
SiLmons, p. 229.
Donald C. Bryant, "Phetoric: Its Function and Scope,"
in Tfhe Provicnce of Phetoric, ed. by Joseph Sch'.;artz and
John A. F',cenga ew o-k:: T're Donald Press Company, 1965),
p. 2 This article original, appeared in the Quarterl.'
JoTurn l fI Speech, :;:I:: (December', 1953) 401-42?4.
--- 'r-o Frye, nat.:my of Criticism (Princeton:
ri.c.- -. -.-.-ersrt Press, 1957 p. 21
-e= .r ..h s D:-:aking, his point that rhetoric goes hand
.-. :.--. '-:i-. C .- ric social values is well taken.
.- i::-, far from helping men in society to explode
the .y-:.- of their ideology, the rhetorical function of
ideology :s designed to help perpetuate those myths and
reinforce belief in them on the part of the populace. Sys-
temic arguments are argument tiv.e because the societal system
is involved in a struggle with the consciousness of its
members and must use whatever dev.rices are most effective to
persuaLsi've advantage in convincing its members to maintain
the inherently distorted picture of reality reflected by
ideology. Because the ideology custodians see their role
as an argumentative one, they tend to use systemic argu-
ments in much the same way Simons says coercive : persuasion
is used by government systems.
Cosrci'.'e persuasion applies to any situation in which
at least one pa--ty sees hLmself in genuine conflict
with another, has some co rciv.e power over the other,
and finds it e::pedient to establish, persuasively,
any or all of th2 following: (1) his relative
capacity to use coercive force, (2) his relative
willingness to use coercive force, (3) the relative
legitimacy of his coercive force, (4) the relative
desirability of his objectivess.1
It is primarily the last two of ttiese persuasive objec-
tives which are the aims of an ideology when it employs
systemic arguments. Tne custodians of ideology, feel that
tne public should be w.-ill.ing to allow society to convince
th-m thi:-. official actions are correct and desirable.
-.-.er, := .dians feel, it must continually' be the
-.-:r.---. = = .e-r and right to inform the populace of this
desi_-:_--- ., or the incomplete picture painted by the
ideol::=,- may begin to clash with reality as a result of open
debate. Thus, not all information is released so that the
public can scrutinize the conditions of reality. Only sys-
temic arguments about the nature of reality and the legiti-
macv of the actions taken by the powers to reflect that
reality are allowed to be debated. That information which
tends to reflect a reality opposed to the ideological picture
of reality is withheld from the general public by the cus-
todians of ideology.42
Ideology Encourages Belief in Itself
In order to understand the pow.:er ideologies have over
men in all societies, it should be recognized that men tend
to ac-t according to their beliefs. If something is be-
lieved to be true for a man, then for that man it is true--
and, ;what is more important, he will act as though it is true.
Thus, when one realizes that someone is defending as true
a position k-nown to be indefensible, it is easy to rational-
ize the conflict by recognizing that the other person
4One of the lessons currently being learned from the
so-called Pencagon Papers case is that government withholds
information from the public not only when revelation of such
informa:icn might endanger national security--in '.-'hich case
it should -.e '.ithheld--but also when revelation of such
inform..--__. -.ight paint a picture of reality quite different
fr-c- the --Isription being presented by the custodians of
the ic:- :=.
is -ervly -..im of his ideology--or perhaps the person
:.-, :::.- :-.:e position is indefensible is merely a '.ictim
cf .-.- :-. '_ieology in refusing to recognize the validity
of the c-:er position. Speaking pejoratively about this
kind of relativism as an approach to history, Ortega sum-
marized the position by noting that "the truth, then, does
not e:-:ist: there are only truths 'relative' to the frame of
mind of the person considering the matter."43 Such explana-
tion applies to those who accept, without question, the
articles of an ideology as "true."
It is convenient to paraphrase Ortega by noting that
the ideas, beliefs, and values which make up an ideology can
be seen as D collection of "truths" reflective of the frame
of mind of the entire society or subgroup. The important
thinc to realize, as Garstin indicated, is that for the
people within that group, no matter its size, the ideology
is true and w.-ill not generally be disputed. Each person
within such a structure may' well be under the influence of
competing ideologies, as '...as illustrated in the section on
the pervasiveness of ideology, but .within a functioning
framew..ork these competing ideologies will be ranked in a
priority alignment such that ideologicall jurisdictions" are
clearly understood by members of the societ'.. Thus, for an
.r'.~- ., -.e merican Ideals forn the foundation of his
Jos- -:-t:eqa y G tssett, Thi2 .'lod.rn Theme, trans. by
s Cleugh :e'.' Yorlk: Hah per & Po.., 1961), p. 29.
Garstir., cp. 3, 4, 4,-', 79.
- dcing -r':-.: in Lif.:-. Further, it is safe to assert
.. -.1.....L .- =_1 Amrericans are trained to believe in the
-_.r_.-. -I- =_ as part of their growing and educational
pr.:=s. -:cht virtually everyone is aware at some level
of con-.s:usness of the ideological jurisdictions which
overlap throughout the society.
The effectiveness of the ideology is protected against
the char-e of inconsistency by the fact that the ideology is
reflect= in a rhetorical movement of a symbolic nature.
This movement can be identified and understood more clearly
after examining the systemic arguments which are used to
perpetuate the ideology. At this point, however, it seems
logical to recognize the validity of Garstin's observation
that "ideological content is not static once it is formu-
lated." 46 Further, such recognition indicates that, while
the changes in ideology might be perceived by sone members
of society, those members would accept the changes unques-
tioningly because of their very strong belief that the
ideolcgv continues to gro.; as it discovers more facts about
the conditions of reality in the world.
Ntot only do men expect thei- ideology to change and
look forward to it, but they also would have difficulty
1 .roughout this study, A.merican will (1) refer to a
resider-: 'of he United States .ho, though not necessarily" a
citi._e. .-.?.s :een a resident of the country. for a long enough
period :i -i.e to acquire as his the parent ideology that of
t-7.e .t-._e: _?tes and (2) be used as the adjectival form of
S:.- .._ed ta-es. America, likewise, will refer throughout
-- -3 the _:-ized States.
"- Garst--, n. 79.
'.-.l engin: :i-- of .': changes that do take place
.- o="-: :r_-rsely because of their belief in that
_:::ii. -ai specifies the point when he says that
"i i--:--. s.-.uid be viewed as consisting primarily of be-
liefs c:.4 only secondarily of ideas. The basic distinction
is that ideas are subject to scientific operation (such as
testing; and verification), whereas beliefs are not."47
The primary function of this chapter was to define the
concept of ideology for purposes of this study. In order
to accomplish that task, however, it was necessary also to
discuss the various problems involved in the study of
ideology, differentiate between ideology and attitude, and
describe the function of ideological rhetoric. Since sys-
temic argument is such a vital part of the function of
ideology, it was necessary to define systemic argument as
part of the description of the function of ideology. Now
that these various tasks have been accomplished and ideology
has been adequately defined, it is possible to mo'.'e on to
the role of history as it applies to this study.
-jai, P 2P
-.ISTORY: ITS IDEAL AND PPAGMIATIC ROLES
I. Iceally, What Is History?
A. Answers About the Past
B. Fair Pepresentation of the Past?
II. Practically, What Is History?
A. Imperfections in Historical Stances
B. History Helps to Perpetuate Ideology
III. ParCicular Severe Limitations on History Tex.tbooks
A. Unwary Ignorance on the Part of Authors
B. Inertia Caused by Over-Poliance on
C. The Impact of Pressure Groups on Textbook
Writing and Selection
HISTORY: ITS IDEAL AND PRAGMATIC ROLES
In Chapter One, it was indicated that the rhetorical
documents for this study would be high school American
history textbooks. While the use of such documents was
justified, no attempt has yet been made to indicate just
what relationship exists between history and ideology.
For purposes of this study, clarification of that
relationship requires at least three steps. First, history's
ideal fulfillment of its own goals should be described so
that an understanding can be attained of the kinds of goals
historians traditionally set for themselves. Second, it
should be acknowledged that history, like most other human
endeavors, rarely achieves its ideal goals. Thus, an
examination should be made of what happens to history when
it falls short of its goals. Third, since history text-
books specifically will be the rhetorical documents utilized
in this study, an examination should be made of the very
special problems inherent in writing history textbooks.
It is in examining the textbooks that a full understanding
of the r-'l played by those books in the perpetuation of
ic-e:*:'_ ...~-I b.a gained.
I:eall., Wihat Is History?
r_-i ices one stop to ask himself the question,
-- .:os-cryv?" Yet, he goes about talking about ;what
hisr:--y -_lIls him or what he can learn from history as
though :.-.e j'new e:-:actly the answer to his own unasked ques-
tion. He seems to feel history is simply what took place
in the past. Usually, he fails to realize that history is
not what took place in the past, but a record of those events.
Without the record, the events themselves would have no way
of being known or understood by men Living in contemporary
society. Of course, the record does not compile itself.
It is put together as a result of scholarly research carried
out by a person interested in finding out what happened in
the past and in determining the relev.,ance of those events to
contemporary society. The scholar and his methods determine
,what kind of a record will be produced.
Answers tAbout the Past
A historian asks questions and seeks answers about the
pas.. He is a scholar who has been trained to delve into
events of the past, to learn all that he can about those
events, and to put that knowledge in some order which will
nake the past meaningful as a foundation for the present and
the future. Fischer describes this investigative function
quite simply when he defines a historian as "someone anyone)
who asks :.. onen-ended question about past events and
-.ns.Jrs it -.. e=eeced .ac-Ss 'which are arranged in rhe
: r : a. .:-:. i.-.atory paradigm." The basic tool used by
-ill .-- -.-, it would seen, is the process of question-
-I :,urse, these questions cannot be asked in a vacuum.
They mis. have some structure, some organizing framework,
if they are to be able to fulfill their function adequately.
Answers '.ill be meaningless if there is no organizing frame-
work ou: of which the questions are asked. Again, Fischer
supplies the e:.:planation which puts the matter of questions
A moment's reflection should suffice to establish the
simple proposition that every historian, ..illy-nill,
must begin his research ..lth a question. Questions
are the engines of intellect, the cerebral machines
which conv-ert energy to motion and curiosity to con-
trolled inquiry. There can be no thinking without
questioning--no purposeful study of the past, nor any
serious planning for the future. Moreover, there can
be no questioning in a sophisticated sense without
hypothesiznir.;,, and no systematic testing of hypotheses
'..ithout the constri-ction of hypothetical models which
can be put to the test.2
Jn spite of the apparent validity of Fischer's state-
ment, however, it should be noted that ideally tne historian
should re'er impose his own structure on the answers to his
questions. Ideally, the hypotheses he uses to frame his
questlcr-. will themselves grow out of other questions, so
th-it he .1ill .never be guilty of imposing his point of v.ie.-
-I ir .-. i. 7 .
. :h -,s -:rr s=m:s to acree with this statement when
.- 1.- -ates ~ -- there are "questions which the historian
--: :. *-is vocation incessantly to ask," but he also
wr.s .- ':he historian who accepts answers in advance to
these cestions goes to work .'ith his eves blindfolded, anrd
renounces his vocation.4 While there must be structure,
there must also be a limit on the degree of control the his-
torian himself may e::ercise o-.-er that structure.
Fair Representation of the Past?
Answers to historians' questions will inevitably pro-
vide a wealth of historical facts so vast as to demand that
the historian select from among them. And beyond these facts,
there must always be a myriad others of which the historian
is not even aware. The problem is compounded when one
realizes that those facts of which he does have knowledge
range from empirically verifiable phenomena to subjective
value judgments. The historian must decide which facts to
select from within this spectrum. Carr acknowledges the
acrobatic function the historian must perform: "Somew.here
between these two poles--the north pole of valueless facts
I' must, of course, be acknowledged that no such
ideally -.-ritten history, exists; nor will it ever exist.
[lan car.-t- look back into the past without the inherent
necessi ... imposing himself on the past. Thus, whenever
on-e 1':;3 ~ the past, he w..11, of necessity, look at the
o:ni t...ou-: .'is ow..n weak, based eves. An inherent part
of -=-.-.: -1i. -..2 is the inabil it: to escape oneself.
Ed'..ard :-allett Carr, ;fna. t Is historyy? ([iew. York:
.-.l i A. .'.n :f. 1964) p. 103.
-.n thhe soc. ;: or -:alue judgments still struggling to
-nsfr-m --h-. lves into facts--lies the realm of his-
:-- -:_-... The historian . is balanced between
f:__ -.- i.-._erpretation, between fact and value. He cannot
separl- -: :hem.
He cannot separate them, but to make any sense out of
the facts available to him the historian must be highly
selectiv;e. He must glean the material relevant to his pur-
pose of understanding the past from all of the data available.
And he must discard the rest as superfluous.
In the ideal fulfillment of his function, the historian
must be accurate as well as selective. He must adopt a kind
of detached selection attitude if he is going to be fair to
history. Again, Carr provides the support by noting that
"the serious historian is the one who recognizes the his-
torically conditioned character of all values, not the one
who claims for his ow..n values an objectivity beyond history."
Only by letting history impose order can the historian be
honest in fulfilling his function.
The kind of accuracy demanded of a historian might be
praised in many scholarly pursuits, but it is merely e::-
pected of the historian. It i a part of his function.
In thin.i.-.c of t!-is requirement, Carr commented: "I am
reminda _: H'-iousman's rei.r. t'r.t 'accuracy is a duty, not
a -ir-. To Lraise a historian foc his accuracy is like
Ibid., 5-. 175-176. 6Ibid., pp. 108-109.
--raising an r:z-.i-e:c fr usin:-c.'ell-seasoned timber or
_-rey .-i:- :i concrete in his building. It is a necessary
::.ii--z -f is work, but not his essential function."
Practically, What Is History?
It is one thing to acknowledge the ideal fulfillment of
the historian's function, but it is another matter entire"
to find that ideal function applied in the 'works of his-
torians. Just as questions the historian asks are not asked
in a vacuum, neither is the historian himself functioning in
a vacuum. He is caught in a framework himself which may be
more binding on him than is the framework of the hypotheses
he uses as a guide to asking his questions. History, then,
in its practical application, is the result of the efforts of
a human being who may consciously or unconsciously impose his
ow;n beliefs or ideology on the past in order to impose an
interpretation on the past which may not be accurate.
Imperfections in Historical Stances
It should be acknowledged that a historian is bcth more
and less than a scholar who asks questions. He is, above
all, a human being who is subject to the same pressures,
values, and beliefs that any other human being is influenced
by. He approaches history out of a particular societal back-
ground z3.-. framework which influence his work. Simply stated,
t"-he -.i-orln cannot escape being what he is. No matter how
TIbid., z. S.
h.rd he tries r be objective, he, too, is influenced by
societal vales of which he may not even be aware. Carr
s:rzLifies -he point by noting that the historian is him-
sel -a- -f history.
-." historian, then, is an individual human being.
Like other individuals, he is also a social phe-
nomenon, both the product and the conscious or uncon-
scious spokesman of the society to which he belongs;
it is [in] this capacity that he approaches the facts
of the historical past . .The historian is part of
history. The point in the procession at which he
finds himself determines his angle of vision over
It would seem, then, that even scholarly historians are
strongly influenced by their surroundings.
As human beings existing in a societal environment,
historians can no more escape being influenced by that en-
vironment than can any other human being. It is inevitable
that the social environment will reflect itself in the his-
It is, then, both natural and totally understandable
that the historians should be "guilty" of falling victim to
and reflecting their own biases. Carr stated that it is
obvious "that you cannot fully understand or appreciate the
./ock of the historian unless you have first grasped the
standpoint from .hiich he himself approached it; second, that
th:at str..2ooint is itself rooted in a social and historical
back r.:- .." When read inc -istory, it should be remembered
r':-._ _: r. s:rian w.;as opetrctiwc out of a paLtic.ilar
IIbid., 2. 42- "Ibid., p. 43.
i -_:: .- _lke h.-e reader, -;as also once a beginning
:---= ... -.cloy', but he has gone beyond that beginning
-. -:=-.-.-. ros of his career studying many of the ideology's
in.tri _-, learning how they fit together to wea-.'e a
patccr- that deserves to be shown to other students :who
follow- afcer him.
Even recognizing his own susceptibility to his en'viron-
ment may not keep the historian from falling victim to it.
Dance stressed the difficulty by emphasizing how hard it may
be for himself and other historians "to think ourselves out
of the milieu in which .we have been reared, to force our-
sel'.'es into points of view which are strange to oursel-ves."0
Dance cioes on to indicate that historians become "hidebound
by the cultural traditions which we inherit, and by the tra-
ditions of learning which we acquire in our educational
Part of the result of historians' reflecting their
biases is that w.hate,.'er they label as facts which they" ha-.-e
selected for transmission through their work may not be,
strictly speaking, factual at all. The reason for this
apparent contradiction lies in the multiple uses of the word
fact. E::planation is due. W.ihile discussing ideology in
Chapter Two, the way nen act according to their beliefs w.as
'E. -:rd HerLert Dance, History the B.trayer (London:
HuTchi:r. :-. Co., Ltd., 1960) p. -5.
i-:sr- :- -.as i.-Ldicac-ed that if a man believe. s something
--: -e 1, .ll act as if it is true. Thus, that piece
of __ o.111 become for him a "fact," whether it is in
rea"l:-. rue or not, and whether it can be empirically veri-
fied ;:i n:. As a parallel to this notion, it might be
pointed out that ideologies depend for perpetuation on entire
systems of such "facts." All systemic arguments are facts
of this type, and systemic arguments make up a large part of
the content of history. These facts have meaning primarily
in relation to each other and to the system of thought
which gives them birth. Since historians' biases are beliefs,
it is easy for them to label as facts things which they
believe to be true.
History Helps Perpetuate Ideology
Part of the practical role of history, especially as it
manifests itself in history te:-tbooks, is to assist in per-
petuating the ideology of the society. Part of this role
entails an attempt to help people in society accept and act
on their beliefs as facts. If the individual believes in the
system, then he is very closely related to these facts and
..ill act as though they are true. One function of history is
to assist the parent ideology in turning systemic arguments
into the kinds of beliefs by which men run their lives and to
'.nrich m~r:-. p::-e.al when they need help in making a decision.
If t i? f::: succeeds, histcr'1 will be percei'eed as being
r-e b',- its r .i=ers and ..ill ha-.'e succeeded in fulfilling
-- ieolocz:: .: role.
:: .~. be noted that it is not necessaril-' the inten-
ti:.. ..iz oarians or of rY.riters of history tex-:tbooks that
their .r;.:s be used for perpetuating ideology. Rather, that
is seen as one of the justifications, explicit or implicit,
for stu~1ying history. Billington, for example, points out
that "bhon educators in the United States and a majority of
the people view instruction in the nation's history as a
practical pragmatic means of protecting and preserving the
American way of life." He reinforces his assertion by
noting that "today, as in the 1830's, the purpose of American
education is to instill loyalty to country into the nation's
youth and to educate future citizens into the wise use of
the franchise." 1 lWhile Billington's comments apply to
education as a whole, Dra-.es speaks directly to the reason
for studying history: "One of the justifications for the
study of history is that it transmits from generation to
generation the cultu-re of a given societ."14
This approach has a greater impact than simply turning
loose so-called opinion leaders to work on the people in
1?.3 .Allen Billirng ton, Tha Historians' Contribution
to An.le -.-Unerican M1isunderstanding .ile. York: Hobbs, Dorman
. Co.-c .-. Inc.., 1966) p. 27.
-'Da.id I. Dra-.es, ";hat's .irong With the Teaching of
Hist in th.- igh School?' The Social Studies, L''I (March,
-. 55) 105.
-::: a massive persuasion campaign. This way, edu-
:-:--_ .-: fir -_he custodians of ideology by teaching the
i-e:_:7- young people so that they will grow up believing
the .~. -o be true, thus being more likely to support it
and Lo assist in the perpetuation effort which will be
directed toward their children. There would seem to be no
more efficient or better way to perpetuate a myth than to
teach it as truth to the students required to learn the
story of their country and its system of government.
Particular Severe Limitations on History Textbooks
Ideally, high school history should serve, in Lauwerys'
words, to "give all pupils sufficient knowledge of the past
to enable them to understand the present."5 The knowledge
of the past attained ifnhigh school history classes, however,
is not always geared to provide the students with an accurate
picture of the past. In part, this fact is due to the nature
of the history textbooks, which are the main source of learn-
High school students are not as fortunate as scholars
who utilize definitive histories and have access to the
finest historical scholarship available. The history which
is taught to high school students is not written by highly
scholarly, writersrs by-and-large, nor is it taught by the
best of historical scholars. Thus, the ability to maintain
"- Lu*-,.erys, HistLor,' Te.:tbooks and International
t:-. _r -_ (Pa Sis: LUI;E3SCO. 5 p. 71.
:se. sane hizh i=Eree :f -:c:,ll-ence demanded by history
:-.-.irs ine- oly begins to slip.
'-.-- :::n.ce on the Part of Authors
7: ;--prisingly, one reason for the "ignorance" attri-
bated ze:-:tbook writers is actually a function of the
medium with which they deal. Their works are not lengthy,
schola:1i, definitive documents about particular aspects of
history. On the contrary', a te::tbook for American history
covers the entire span of the nation's history. This breadth
of coverage necessitates a more rigorous selection process
than would be necessary in a treatment of a part of the
nation's history. The extreme selectivity necessarily im-
poses a certain lack of coverage or competence on the text-
book. Pelating the problem of selection to the treatment
of specific groups within a society, Dance says that "his-
tory textbooks are necessarily short, and the shorter they
are, the more they restrict the scope of the enquiry.
Selection has to be made quite ruthlessly, and this inevi-
tably entails inadequacy in the treatment of many human
Of course, the main reason for the textbook writer's
unconscious bias is the ..ery humanity which h he and all his-
1-orians share, as discussed in the section on the practical
definiz- of history. To be human is to have biases of
Dance, H-isory With-ut Bias? (London: The Council
S -ri tian nc Je.'.:s, 195,4- o. 49.
.-.-h one is .:. aware. if that human being happens to
---te te::t.::.-k, then his biases will inevitably find their
-- i-t t-:-_ textbook. It is not really the fault of the
wr--r, :-.:r is it an "error" which he can correct, unless
his biases are pointed out to him by a critic who has his
ear. Billington points out that, in spite of attempts which
have been under way for some time to eliminate bias in text-
books, "nationalistic bias is as persistent in today's
schoolbooks as in those used a generation ago. More impor-
tant, this bias is potentially more dangerous, because it is
less easy to detect. Usually it appears to stem not from
any deliberate or conscious prejudice on the part of the
author, but from the unconscious self."17
Even though the biased statements present in textbooks
are there without the conscious knowledge of the textbook
authors, their impact is felc nonetheless by students learn-
ing their nation's story from such te::tbooks. Lauwer.ys
assumes that all authors engaged in writing textbooks would
eliminate all biased statements from their textbooks if they
could. In spite of this possibly na'-.-e preface, however,
he has to admit that all authors are biased.
All authors holJ opinions they are not aware of hold-
inc, and all, or nearly all, are biased and prejudiced
.*;i:..out knowing it. Thns has effects on tne te:-:tbooks
S.*v .-rite and, conseq..uen 1y on the opinions and
s:- .--e of the children .,'.o use them. Tne result is
--.- -.se te:-t ooks ser-.' ends n .wiich their authors
..':.- .. r P di-ite and de:lore 13
i i.-. n, p. 2. Lauwerys, p. 31.
Th2se f---es, c-re, include the ideological orien-
-Bion :..:ic- --.e authors have absorbed and come to believe
---::. li. :-_- .r people in the society. Thus, in spite of
th- ...r . some would readily believe that history te:-:t-
boo- a.re totally objectiv'.e, the truth of the matter is
that these texts are riddled with bias emanating, in part,
from the unwary ignorance on the part of the authors.
Inertia Caused by Over-Reliance
on Seco-.:ar;' Sources
While an author's ourn unwary ignorance may cause serious
problems regarding the filtering of biases into the class-
room, there are also some methodological problems which add
to the limitations of history te:-:tbooks. Basically, these
methodological problems take two forms.
Although some well-known history scholars write te::t-
books, for the most part a writer of history textbooks is
primarily that and not a history scholar in his o;n right.
Therefore, he depends for much of his material on hsitory
scholars and other textbook wrriters, thereby utilizing secon-
dary sources rather than primary sources as the foundation
of Ills work. Lauw:erys indicates that "far too often, this
compilation is the result chiefly of consultation of other
te:: tboo: s Thus, ancient errors are handed on, and contacz
with fIrs:-h.and up-to-date research grows ever more tenu-
cs."- L -.er''s also e:-:p-e3-es agreement vWith the fact
Ibid. -. 21.
-.'ar althu,:zh -he texboo.k writerer "may be a scholar as .w.ell
. he is .-.c functioning primarily as such when he
-- :: ook.
r-. ly because textbook writers are not their own
sch:-ai--, -t is possible for new research findings to take
quite a long time to filter down to the levels from which
te:-:tbook w-riters do their job of compiling. Thus, even if
the te::T-ook author has in mind to present a fair and com-
plete Dicture of his country's history, he is limited by
the quality of the scholarship in secondary sources which he
uses as his research materials. Billington indicates that
the "latest scholarly findings have to filter down to the
te:-tbook level slowly, usually appearing first in general
monographs, then in the.larger histories, and finally in
textbooks. This process requires years so that texts are
sometimes a generation behind in reflecting current his-
It can, of course, be argued that the blame for the
time-lag should not be laid at the feet of the textbook
author. Dance occupies this position when he indicates
that the textbook author may not be entirely to blame for
It -.ay take anything from years to generations for
t.- scoveries of research to percolate into the
S.:. looks. And for this the te:x:tbook writers are
.-.-- lame. Articles on research are legion; they
Ibicb p. 27. 21 illington, p. 5.
=L'. :- ll hiDstory frcm before Adam till after
"-_ 5:, ..no te::tbook writer can keep pace with a
-..-.i- f them. For another thin most specialist
published in journals which few textbook
.--_s r n be expected to see--and in any case, many
.-- : pice of research is followed by another, con-
-r- :C'y piece of research in some equally inac-
Dance's pa..nt is '..ell taken, but it seems to miss the mark
entirel'. If the writer of textbooks were genuinely inter-
ested in filling his world w..ith respectable scholarly find-
ings, he could utilize journals more in researching his book.
It would be more difficult for him to compile his material
out of journals, but it would result in much better history:
than is the case with using other textbooks and history
books as the main sources of information. Billion ton seems
far nearer an accurate depiction of the situation when he
labels such la:-. scholarship on the part of textbook authors
as "bias by inertia" and says that the term "means the failure
of textbook writers to keep abreast of current historical
scholarhsip, and their consequent readiness to perpetuate
on their pages outw.orn legends that usually exhibit nation-
The fact that historians and history te:.:tbook authors
are human and subject to all the flaws of human character
has been mentioned several times. It should not come as a
surprise, then, to disco.-er that being part of a human
S: History the EBetrayer, p. 23.
- - -.zton, p. 5.
:--_-.-._- .-.is scneching to do with the poor scholarship which
-.-.s----= -o he perpetuation of ideology in the rhetorical
c--::-r-= f :igh school American history textbooks. The
wr-ir .:j ex:-:tbooks is hampered not only by his own scholarly
limi-:c ons, but also by the inertia of the very society he
is attempting to teach. Since he is himself a part of that
human society and is likely to be unable to write from a
totally unbiased position, it might be easily understood that
he lets himself get trapped by his own inertia and that of
the society he writes about. It is so understandable, in
fact, that Dance again offers an excuse for the authors'
la:-:ity by taking the attitude that that is simply the way
We are so accustomed to thinking along well-worn lines
that we rarely make the intellectual effort needed to
strike out along lines of our own. Generations of
teachers teach what they learned when they were young;
generations of scholars learn what they will teach to
others; and therefore the history taught in schools
and universities lags far behind the new world for
which it is supposed to prepare its citizens.24
In spite of the understandable nature of the situation,
however, the blame should be borne by the authors. It is
gratifying, then, to note that Billington's language indi-
cates that his assessment of the situation places a bit more
blame on the authors than did Dance. Billington says that
"cormpoun~in.g this crime [of allowing a time-lag] is the
tendenrc :f aill humans to thi*in alcng well-w'orn lines rather
-. istor.' the Bete ra er, p. .*7.
:.an endure -.h- 1.-.: -11_c- : r-,Lent needed to grasp new
__=s. His .ri al discor-ions are passed on from genera-
---i -- g:.-.-zaion, from teacher to pupil, from textbook
al- .-:r :D :-.z ook author at all educational levels."'5
Thz 1:-.-.- of Pressure Groups on
Textbc-: .'.riting and Selection
he 'l-her history textbook authors want to write biased
accounts Df history or take any action to pre-ent that bias
is not ra-ily at issue here.' More important, perhaps, is
the fact that there are groups which e:-;ercise inordinate
influence on the markets for which these authors '.-:rite.
Furthermore, these pressure groups seem to want the kind of
bias which shows up in our textbooks. :lany of these groups
would echo West'.;ood's statement that "the primary aim of a
course in American history in secondary school should be the
teaching of the freedoms which, in sum, distinguish America:
teaching what they are, whence they came, how they evolved,
how they have been attacked, defended, and qualified, and,
finally, something of how they may be challenged in the
One would hope, implicitly, that this statement reflects
the views of only a small reactionary minority of Americans,
so that iz could be Jiscounted as the work of extremists.
Such h-.:, ho.;ever, is little more than a pipe dream. In
Bi l i.. t-n, pp. 5-6.
26Howard :. West'.-ood, "A La.man's View of High School
--erican Hiscr--..," The Social Studies, :LVI (January, 1955), 3.
f5c, 3Billi-_ ::.-...s .-rea:z been quoted as indicating that
= j-oriy _f ..e people -:ie,..; instruction in the nation's
.--:r:. is ; -actical, pracnatic means of protecting and
_--.-.-.- -:'.=3 American way of life." Thus, the opinion
peri- :=.--roughoit the country that the primary purpose of
teac:.-..- history is to pass on the ideology to the young
genera-z.-n. That opinion tends to manifest itself in the
form of pressuree brought to bear by national pressure groups
on the writing, publication, and selection of te:-:tbooks.
Whatever else may be said of groups which attempt te:.:t-
book censorship, it may be said that they represent a vivid
manifestation of the function of ideology discussed in
Chapter Two. It '.as e:-:plained at that time that ideology
reflects the wishes of a society, whether or not those wishes
picture reality as it actually is. Ideology reflects reality
as the custodians of the ideology thinly it should be, not
necessarily as it actually is. The same basic observation
can be made about those arouos which attempt censorship of
te:-:tbooks. On the '.hole, these groups believe themselves to
be defenders of the ideology and feel it is their respon-
sibilit' to force their views on a society which they be-
liev'.e has gone la:-: and is no longer concerned about protect-
in ana. erpetuating the .A erican Ideals.
.-l: according to Ielson and Roberts, pressure groups
s:r_.:-;= .i::.::- warning and frc the particular object of
Billin.:=:,n, p. 27.
.-r attac:- --z es-pod as a_;z:kl as possible. 2 Oan a
.-. -.51 scme. -, course, this fact results in forcing
:----_--. 2 = '.*..le to make a decision about the direction
i- .-_-.- -::-bo!Oks co take. Hlelson and Roberts elaborate
on -'-.s ccint.
'..-.ever the differences in dress or the nature of
their .-iorries, would-be te::tbool: censors share the
sa.-.- conv'.ictions: that their '.!ieJws arce the correct
onss. that the child will be sub-.erted if he hears
the Opposing philosophy. Always, the censors ignore
-. a fct that no textbooJk can e-.er be perfect, and
t--- textbooks will always reflect the changing
krc i-!edge and the changing interpretations of succes-
si-ve generations. Society, as a result, must decide
'.!-etlher it w..ants its t-e:tbooks to be shaped by pressure
groups or by scholars seeking to supply the most
accurate information available. Too often, society
has yielded to the pressure groups.29
As has already been stated in the preceding section, all
pressure groups think: their w'ay is the only wa'y 'whicn is
right for the counntry.3 This fact implies, obviously, that
such groups tend to be of the type generally referred to as
right wing or super patriotic groups. By and large, this
generalization is accurate. For example, groups actively
taking part in censorship activities include the Daughters
of che American Rev.olution, the Sons of the American Re.:olu-
tion, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars,
=:; elson and Gene Roberts, Jr., The Censors and
the Sc- : s (Boston: Little, Bro..;n and Company, 1931 p. 3.
__' 24 .
"oc_.-re:.ation of the specific censorship activities
:- -:: ps l'-=led in this section as pressure groups is
-.-i :s- le in ':elson anId R.ber:s.
.e various ::.-.i.z C -i i .ns c-r.cils, and such e:.:tremist
: -__ s as .'---er-: 's Future, Inc., and the John Birch
-:. :.= er hand, however, from time to time groups
wh_.-: . .-.ighly stable in most situations and which tend
to be oy moderately conservative get involved because
they feel that they are themselves being threatened or
cheated something they find in the te::tbooks. For
e:.ample. :he Florida State Chamber of Commerce once forced
a publis-.d geography- textbook to be changed by the pub-
lishers because it contained more pictures of California
than of Florida. Bad for the tourist business, they felt.
Nelson and Roberts provide another interesting e:.ample:
"FTC [Federal Trade Commissionl investigators learned that
the rational Electric Light Association, the American Gas
Association, the Amrerican Railway Association and many of
their member corporations had attempted--and often succeeded--
in placing the utilities' o',;n interpretation of history
before the nation's children."
Among the primary targets of pressure groups engaged
in censo-rship activities at both local and state levels are
the selection agencies whose responsibilities include choos-
ing te:-:;.ooks for all the schools in their jurisdiction.
Ge7ra-_-l attacks on selection agencies demand one of two
t.i.-.--=: --.- e in the make-up of the agency' itself or a
S lelso-. -.d Roberts, c.. 31.
:-.-ane in a -:::.oK seec- oCr.. n the first instance
.-.e -ar-.d u y takes the form of groups' demanding that
::-.:-.--- -.-cies admit la people to their membership.
T7-.= =_-T -:Jn being made by the pressure groups in this
in-1-.:s s that sufficient pressure can be brought to bear
on the appointing officers) to force into membership lay
people ...-o will support positions of the group. Baxter inidi-
cates _._= "recently, textbook1 critics have demanded more
particLr-:a:ion by lay people iil the selection of textbooks.
It is nat clear whether the demands are based on the assump-
tion that laymen are better qualified than educators to
select textbooks, or on the assumption that adoption agencies
have not been diligent in their duties.32
The second instance is just as conuTon as the first.
The intent, in this case, is usually to get a book changed,
done away with, or selected, depending on the desires of
the pressure group. Pressure groups have been so successful
in rallying _support that their campaigns to get books
abolished, changed, or selected keep selection agencies quite
worrieded Helson and Roberts cite a lot unusual result of
this kind of pressure: "In a candid moment in 1960, a
deputy< superintendent of the school system in the District
of Ci-.-l:ia revealed his forr-ula for a-'oiding contro'ers"
S ..es z .. ard Bax::ter, Selection and Censorship of
?-.::-:- Ss:- Te:-.tbooki s i.A CD= :rion :ive Stu.-' Ph.D. disser-
.- Urni-=rit' of Soitnerr: Mlississippi 1964) 37.
.'er te:.:tboo:ks. -.e -..is simplicity itself. 'We try
: -.<5e sure- _..= the books we select are not objectionable
-: n .-.. '- Billington acknowledges the validity of
t.- s -:Z=--..1.: and points out that "local pressure groups,
of--.- :r5 nationalistic than the authors or users of text-
books, =re in a position to bring pressure on school boards
and adcpz ng commissions to select texts mirroring their own
point of .iew."34
These examples seem to reflect a natural condition of
this society: that the more powerful individuals and groups
become, =he more they reflect and emphasize the rectitude
of ideology. It is but a short step beyond that stance to
insist that all people in the society should be taught the
ideology the w'ay the powerful groups or individuals think
it should be taught.
Te:-:tbook publishers come in for a great deal of pres-
sure directly from pressure groups. Sometimes, demands
made are for changes in a particular book to make it conform
to a particular set of criteria. Other times, demands are
for suspending publication of a book the pressure group finds
particularly offensive. This kind of pressure is nothing
new for publishing houses. The first concentrated pressure
they e:-::_riernced came after the Civil War, when the North
and t:.e 5:_-th each demanded te:-:tbooks specifically designed
I;.elso-. ='. Roberts, p. 17. "Billingcon, p. 28.
-o present a c.-.-s d .e c he Ci'.il War and its sur-
_::-nii.-:r issues. elson and Roberts indicate that pub-
l_--.'rs "'e. publishing regional textbooks, one version
:-. --::-:.- and another for the torth, and, as a result,
fcecd -.-m ninds of students for more than two generations."
.e so man'.' years of dealing with, and giving in to,
pressures, publishers seem to have become comfortable in
the role They' play. in furnishing textbooks. They remain
cautious and do not produce any highly controversial books
because, as Helson and Roberts point out, they are "well
aware that an onslaught of criticism against a text by a
rightwing or minority group can touch off a chain reaction
among te::tbook selection corumittees and cause sales to drop
.ff in many areas."' Publisners' concern has become so
pointed that, according to :ielson and Roberts, the Amrerican
Te::tbook Publishers Institute [now the Association of
L;merican Publishers] issued a policy directive urging that
"publishers 'must try to avoid statements that might prove
offensive to economic, religious, racial or social groups
or any civic, fraternal, patriotic or philanthropic societies
in the ..*jhole United States.'"'3 Obviously, the publishers
have their hands full trying to avoid offending any of that
multipli c-y of groups.
--'ielszn ad Roberts, p. 26. FIbid., p. 179.
Ibid., : 181.
Alrhoiuc.. -=c':s n ..,a-ishers and selection committees
-: great ial =f damage and cause textbooks to be lost or
.. i.: L. --.ard, mildly stimulating treatments of their
s_-I -= r.:---r, pressure groups' impacts can be seen most
cl-r-_ *..-.e-. they take on an individual author. When such
attacks -'ke place, according to Nelson and Roberts, they
tend tc '-e directed against the "philosophy of the authors."38
The mos- striking example H'elson and Roberts provide of such
attacks :Dncerns the pre-World War II campaign against
"a mild -mannered Columbia University . education pro-
fessor, Dr. Harold Rugg." Dr. Rugg had borrowed money to
finance his dream of a series of social science textbooks
to be used in elementary and high schools and had worked on
the series for over a decade before having his first volume
published. His works "won immediate acclaim from educa-
tors, and schools throughout the nation began adopting
At the height of his success, Rugg's books were being
used by almost half of the school systems in the country
and w.Jere topping 289,000 volumes per year in sales. Then
the bottom fell out, because pressure groups decided that
Dr. Rugg :..'as a bit too "pink" to allow him to have any
influe-=: on the children of this country. In less than
six :.=rs3, ?'gc 's sales fell .mcre than 90 percent.
Ib 39 40
ibi... 6. ., 34. Ibid., p. 35.
The att--==:.3 :-.-.i-:iduals e-,pasize, perhaps better
-.. an oc..c-r e::amole, cne commitment of pressure groups
--: ic- :.. ese groups are w..illing to go to any lengths
ni S= ,: prevent a book's being used which the groups
d-_-i.- ..ot in keeping with the ideology of this society,
at iesz not in keeping with their interpretation of that
S urun a r v
Al-.ough this has been a rather detailed chapter, its
purpose has been quite simple. The chapter has explained
the ideal and the practical manifestations of history as an
intellectual discipline. The chapter has noted that in the
ideal state of history, historians answer questions about
the past by selecting facts which present as accurate a pic-
ture of the past as possible. In discussing more practical
aspeccs of history, it was noted that historians are them-
selves human beings who reflect their own biases and their
own positions in history. It was noted that, in this very
practical state, history helps in the perpetuation of
ideology, especially as It is written in history textbooks
for use in high school American history courses.
a=.-i.-qg drawn a distinction between the ideal and prac-
tical ..:-t ions of historians, several severe limitations
or .: --.' te:-:tbooks were discussed. It was indicated that
a:.-.: of -~::books opaL-ate oc: of an unwary ignorance,
...-. is im. sd on them ir. :ar- b- the medium in which
--.e.- -r= =.-. o in. arz by. their ow-n unconscious biases. In
ii-, _- ..-3s indicated that the practice of relying too
-.z -- :.? .-.:ary sources results in slowing the process
of -.~--..- -he latest scholarship into the minds of school
chi'.ir... Finally, the impact of pressure groups was dis-
cus;ed, with emphasis on the fact that pressure is aimed not
only at textbook authors, but also at selection committees
in the various states and at te>:tbook publishers. With this
background in mind, the survey of the high school American
history te:.:tbooks, as rhetorical discourse, can begin.
A DESCRIPTIO;l OF SYSTEMIC ARGUMENTS IN
SURVEYED AZ-.IERICAL' HISTORY TEXTBOOKS
I. Identifying the Most Widely Used Te:tbooks, 1920-1969
II. Wars Used in the Study
III. Describing the Data
B. Ill ustrating the Distribution of Arguments
D. lMovement in the Arguments
A DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEMIC ARGUMENTS IN
SURVEYED AMIERICAN HISTORY TEXTBOOKS
Identifying the [ost Widely
Used Textbooks, 1920-1969
Various sources were used to gather information needed
to identify the most widely used high school American history
textbooks for the period 1920-1969. Throughout the history
of American education, studies of textbooks have been car-
ried out for many different purposes. Some of these studies
have been authorized by committees of organization inter-
ested in some aspect of education, while others have been
written by individual scholars interested in specific text-
book content as it relates to educational problems. All of
the studies have at least two things in common: (1) their
authors have a strong desire to be able to generalize from
the results of the studies and have,therefore, tended to use
the most widely used textbooks for their analyses; and
(2) all the studies have tended to be limited in the range
of time covered due, in large part, it seems, to the great
difficulty of obtaiinin information regarding the e::tent of
use ot te::books prior to the time contemporary with the
studies t-=ir.: '..'ritten.
-=- -..-.is scudy w.as designed to cover a specific
-t_-.- ---- :f ---fty years, it became necessary to utilize
S--- -=-- studies limited to shorter spans of time to
bl._-i __= of high school Jnmerican history textbooks which
were ..e .ost widel-, used between the years 1920 and 1969.
The use of these other studies for that purpose was dictated
by the adamant unwillingness on the part of the publishers or
the indust-ry-wide publishing association to divulge informa-
tion which would help in building the list needed.1
A total of seventeen studies of high school textbooks
was used to build the list of most widely used textbooks to
One of the most disappointing encounters was with a
high-ranking official of the Association of American Pub-
lishers. This organization is the industry-wide association
which keeps track of the growth of the industry, provides
publishing houses with a variety of information requested
by them, and provides whatever other services that may be
requested from within the industry. According to the particu-
lar individual contacted, the Association has on hand, or can
obtain, any circulation information one might need for
scholarly purposes. The Association will not release the
information, ho'.:e"er, because it is "classified" by industry
Since such information could be released to scholars
without revealing specific sales figures, some pressure
should be brought to bear on the industry to bring about
release of this information. There are many' legitimate te:-:t-
book studies which need to be carried out, but which cannot
even be attempted without an inordinate amount of unnecessary,
non-academic "busy work" on the part of the scholar. The
publishing industry is, perhaps, understandably protective
about specific sales figures. But, the industry has taken
an e::tre-.e and petty defensive stance on these matters. It
;nould bE relatively simple and non-threatening matter to
Dpr 1.-.1 r-leDase generalized lists of the "most :.idel,
'u-_-." : : in various fields .::d for different time periods.
-:-- -_ ::.rs wil join in an effort to make such lists
udc :.r-.ecrc a documents in this study. Of the
S .-.. 5.-. .s used, t'..;elve ..;ere doctoral dissertations
-= _---2 ,L. -.-rious aspects of the content or organization
o: :.1 :. col .Amnerican history textbooks. The remaining
-S~ecifically, the following seventeen sources were
used to build the list of textbooks to be used as rhetorical
documents in this study: James Edward Ba::ter, Selection and
Censorhipo of Public School Te.-:tbooks (A Descriptive Study)
Ph.D. dissertation (Unrversit,. of Southern -lississippi,
1964); Ray Allen Billington, The Historians' Contribution to
.Ang lo-Ame r i can Misunderstanding (New York: Hobbs, Dorman &
Company, Inc., 1966); The Canada-United States Committee on
Education, A Study of Nlational History Textbooks Used in the
Schools of Canada and the United States (Canada: The American
Council on Education, 1947); Marie Elizabeth Carpenter,
The Treatment of the Iegro in American History School Text-
books (.l'enasha, Wisconsin: George Banta Publishing Company,
1941); June Roediger Chapin, Differentiation of Content in
United Staces History' 'ex:tboo:s, Ed.D. dissertation (Stanford
University, 1963); John Wagner Hanson, An Inquiry into the
Role of Histocy Textbooks in Improling Understanding of Human
Actions, Ph.D. dissertation (Univ-ersity of Illinois, 1953) ;
Leon Hellerman, An Analysis of President Polk's Mexican
Policy in Selected ;American HI!stor,' Te:xtbooks for Secondar-,-
School, Ed.D. dissertacion (ilew York University, 1972) ;
Robert Addison Meredith, The Treatment of United States-
Me::ican Relations in Secondac-y United States Histor,' Text-
books Published Since 1956, Ed.D. dissertation (lew York
Universityy, 1968) Helen N. MeLritt, Certain Social 'lo-e-
ments as Reflected in United States History, Textbooks, Ph.D.
dissertation (Niew York University, 1952) ; Andrew Pelser,
An Analysis of the Treatment Given to Selected Aspects of
Populism and the Populist Part; in uAmerican History High
School Textbooks, Ed.D. dissertation (ilew York University,
1971); Bessie Louise Pierce, Civic Attitudes in uAmerican
School Textbooks (Chicago: Tne Univ.ersity of Chicago Press,
1930); Pierce, Public Opinion and the Teaching of History in
the United States (fie.w York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926) ; Pobert H.
Ratc iffe, A Critica1 Analysis of the Treatment Given Reore-
sentativ.e Social Science Ideas in Leadinq Ele-.'enth Grade
American History' Te:-:tbooks, Ph.D. dissertation (tlorth.;escern
Uni-er: .. 1970) ; Masamitsu Tam-.sn.-ro, An Analysis of
Sel.ec r-i ::-.acts of United Scates-Japan Relations from 1905
oto = -j?. in Hirjh Schoiol History Te::tbooks of Doth
_~ ._ . d-i-J ssertation (ie. York University, 1972); Ed.D.
.e -i-ie .. -ere books w..hich tended to deal with somewhat
:r:i-r s-ers of te:.:tbooks. Although very few of tne
3-i--= _r--.ed textbooks drawn from more than a si-:-:-ear
p*r_-:. --.e studies did overlap sufficiently to provide a
co. .= Ii.'e list of the entire period being treated by
The final list gathered in this manner contained a
total of one hundred eighteen books spread ov.'er the five
decades being focused on in this study. In order to pro'.ide
e-qunl representation to each of the five decades, a decision
was made to decrease the total number of books to fifty and
to distribute that number equally among the five decades.
Then, to produce this final list, ten books were selected
at random from the list of most widely used American history
textbooks for each of the five decades." The fifty books
thus chosen constitute the rhetorical documents for this
study and are labeled as such in the bibliography.
Clarence Benjamin Wadleigh, Jr., Questions in American History
Textbooks as Contributors to Development of Thinking Skills,
Ed.D. dissertation (Stanford Uni.versity, 1969); and Katrina
Yielding, An Evaluation of Selected Secondary School Text-
books in the United States History, Based on an Analysis of
the treatmentt Given the Topic: Go-.ernment In-.ol-.ement in
the Economy, Ed.D. dissertation (Auburn University, 1967).
In actuality, thirteen books per decade were selected
at random. The only feasible '.-ay. to obtain the books was to
oder theM.. through the inter-library loan system. It was
fearL. t'-at not all of the books could be easily located, or
at all _: ---a case of some te:-:tbooks long out of print. As
prote:-. _:-. t inst coming up short, therefore, thirteen books
--: -:--e .ere ordered, with the intention of using the first
---. -_- -:- e *w;ni-ch were obtained.
.-;rs LUse in the Study
I- its erl-y two hundred years of existence, the United
S-s ..as ;-in involved in many wars. Some of them were
:-:.. --.ercan colonists even before they had gained
the-r :-i_-endence. Some of the wars were relatively minor
affairs -.volving the colonists and Indian tribes, while
others -.ere global in scope. Generally, however, nine wars
are ccr-siered to have been the major wars in which the
United states has been involved. Listed chronologically,
they are: the LAmerican Revolution, the War of 1812, the
Mexican-.--Terican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American
War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the war
Of the nine ma]or wars, only seven are treated by this
study. The Civil War is omitted because of its unique
status of being an "in house" struggle. Although some for-
eign powers were involved in helping one or the other of the
two sides, it was, strictly, speaking, not an international
struggle. Furthermore, it was felt that arguments used for
and against this war .'.would be unique to it.
The Vietnam War also '..was omitted from consideration in
this stud'. That .:;ar has been completed since this study
was b-.., 2ithough there is still considerable trouble in-
';ol';i:: ---.pzts to enforce 'he ceasefire. In addition, the
;'ar -.zs : no:r :-..cl 3d during e- ; five decades of the study.
--.s, althou:'. te beg inni;; of the war is mentioned in some
af the te:-:th:c k dra;n fre. :-.a late 1960's, the conclusion
-f zr.e war i :.-:ered in none of the te:-:tbooks surveyed.
.-.llY, .=s felt that there has not been enough time
---- -h-e ze--_efire to permit placing the Vietnam War in its
Describing the Data
Ar gq ':i-. :s
i- ,as indicated in Chapter One that the tex:tbooks would
be sur.eyevd to glean from them: (1) all reasons listed by
each text-book for America's entry into each var, (2) all
reasons cited b-y each te::t for withdrawing from each war, and
(3) all cited dissenting arguments against entry into or
withdrawal from each war. Once gathered, these arguments
totaled well over two thousand individual statements. The
final area projected for study--arguments against withdrawal--
did not materialize in the textbooks, although there was
mention of opposition to specific aspects of .-arious trea-
ties. Arguments for and against treaties, however, were not
treated in this study.
For purposes of this study, the statements drawn from
the te:-xtooks generated twenty-one individual arguments.
Only fi.-e of hose arguments were opposed to entering w:,ars.
-r purposess of this study, all of the individual syn-
tl.-_s of ~:.' statements generated by sur-.-eying the textbooks
.,:* be caldi arguments. I is fully recognized that these
.r7--.ents ar-. technically speaking, categories in themselves,
:- he term -e-regory will be reserv-d for groups of argu-
. r.:s which h are similar to each other.
Fourteen syste-.-:: ar::u.s .ee identified in the area of
reasons for e.-.-ering war. Only two arguments for withdrawing
_rr- *.rs ;.*.-re identified,and one of them was unique to the
--.r -f 132. There were, as has been noted, no arguments
agai-.3 wi-.hdrawing from wars.
Following is an illustration of the way statements from
the te::-books were grouped together to form the synthesized
arguments. The four statements used in the illustration
were dr.=-n at random from the many statements encompassed by
the iar;ument, "The enemy encouraged other peoples against
America." The sample statements are from four different
textbooks and deal with two different wars: "The British
also encouraged the Indian chief Tecumseh, who welded to-
gether the Indians of the Northwest under British protection
and gave signs of restlessness presaging a revolt"; "The
arms the defeated tribesmen left behind obviously had been
received from the British. The Americans drew the logical
conclusion that the English were up to their old tricks:
plotting with the Indians against the frontiersmen"; "It was
announced that Germany was planning to join with Japan and
Me::ico in an attack upon our country, and that in the event
of success lex:ico, as a reward for her assistance, was to
recei.'e -ne states of Arizona, INew Mexico, and Te::as"; and
"There .'ere German spies plotcing against and even destroying
;._--.r-ar. I.:dstries, while otner German agents schemed to
i.-:.-:L.e us 17. war with Nexico."