Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974)[2] was an American writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War, coining the term "stereotype" in the modern psychological meaning, and critiquing media and democracy in his newspaper column and several books, most notably his 1922 book Public Opinion.[3] Lippmann was also a notable author for the Council on Foreign Relations, until he had an affair with the editor Hamilton Fish Armstrong's wife, which led to a falling out between the two men. Lippmann also played a notable role in Woodrow Wilson's post-World War I board of inquiry, as its research director. His views regarding the role of journalism in a democracy were contrasted with the contemporaneous writings of John Dewey in what has been retrospectively named the Lippmann-Dewey debate. Lippmann won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his syndicated newspaper column "Today and Tomorrow" and one for his 1961 interview of Nikita Khrushchev.[4][5]

He has also been highly praised with titles ranging anywhere from "most influential" journalist[6][7][8] of the 20th century, to "Father of Modern Journalism".[9][10]

Michael Schudson writes[11] that James W. Carey considered Walter Lippmann's book Public Opinion as "the founding book of modern journalism" and also "the founding book in American media studies".[12]

Walter Lippmann
Lippmann in 1914
Lippmann in 1914
BornSeptember 23, 1889
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 14, 1974 (aged 85)
New York City
OccupationWriter, journalist, political commentator
EducationTimothy Dwight School
Alma materHarvard University A.B. (1910)
Notable worksFounding editor, New Republic, Public Opinion
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize, 1958, 1962 Presidential Medal of Freedom
SpouseFaye Albertson (divorced); Helen Byrne[1]
RelativesJacob and Daisy Baum Lippmann

Early life

Walter Lippmann was born in New York City, 1889, to upper-middle class Jewish parents Jacob and Daisy Baum Lippmann, who also took annual holidays in Europe.

At 17, following his graduation from New York's Dwight School, he entered Harvard University where he wrote for The Harvard Crimson[13] and studied under George Santayana, William James, and Graham Wallas, concentrating upon philosophy and languages (he spoke German and French), and he earned his degree in three years, graduating as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society.[14]

At some time, Lippmann became a member, alongside Sinclair Lewis, of the New York Socialist Party.[15] In 1911, Lippmann served as secretary to George R. Lunn, the first Socialist mayor of Schenectady, New York, during Lunn's first term. Lippmann resigned his post after four months, finding Lunn's programs to be worthwhile in and of themselves, but inadequate as Socialism.[16]


Lippmann was a journalist, a media critic and an amateur philosopher who tried to reconcile the tensions between liberty and democracy in a complex and modern world, as in his 1920 book Liberty and the News.[17] In 1913, Lippmann, Herbert Croly, and Walter Weyl became the founding editors of The New Republic magazine.

During the war, Lippmann was commissioned a captain in the Army on June 28, 1918, and was assigned to the intelligence section of the AEF headquarters in France. He was assigned to the staff of Edward House in October and attached to the American Commission to negotiate peace in December. He returned to the United States in February 1919 and was immediately discharged.[18]

Through his connection to House, he became an adviser to Wilson and assisted in the drafting of Wilson's Fourteen Points speech. He sharply criticized George Creel, whom the President appointed to head wartime propaganda efforts at the Committee on Public Information. While he was prepared to curb his liberal instincts because of the war saying he had "no doctrinaire belief in free speech," he nonetheless advised Wilson that censorship should "never be entrusted to anyone who is not himself tolerant, nor to anyone who is unacquainted with the long record of folly which is the history of suppression."[19]

Lippmann examined the coverage of newspapers and saw many inaccuracies and other problems. He and Charles Merz, in a 1920 study entitled A Test of the News, stated that The New York Times' coverage of the Bolshevik revolution was biased and inaccurate. In addition to his newspaper column "Today and Tomorrow", he wrote several books. Lippmann was the first to bring the phrase "cold war" to common currency, in his 1947 book by the same name.

It was Lippmann who first identified the tendency of journalists to generalize about other people based on fixed ideas. He argued that people, including journalists, are more apt to believe "the pictures in their heads" than to come to judgment by critical thinking. Humans condense ideas into symbols, he wrote, and journalism, a force quickly becoming the mass media, is an ineffective method of educating the public. Even if journalists did better jobs of informing the public about important issues, Lippmann believed "the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning and assimilating the results of accurate investigation." Citizens, he wrote, were too self-centered to care about public policy except as pertaining to pressing local issues.

Later life

Following the removal from office of Secretary of Commerce (and former Vice President of the United States) Henry A. Wallace in September 1946, Lippmann became the leading public advocate of the need to respect a Soviet sphere of influence in Europe, as opposed to the containment strategy being advocated at the time by George F. Kennan.

Lippmann was an informal adviser to several presidents.[20] On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson presented Lippmann with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[21] He later had a rather famous feud with Johnson over his handling of the Vietnam War of which Lippmann had become highly critical.[22]

He won a special Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1958, as nationally syndicated columnist, citing "the wisdom, perception and high sense of responsibility with which he has commented for many years on national and international affairs."[4] Four years later he won the annual Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting citing "his 1961 interview with Soviet Premier Khrushchev, as illustrative of Lippmann's long and distinguished contribution to American journalism."[5]

Lippmann retired from his syndicated column in 1967.[23]

Lippmann died in New York City because of cardiac arrest in 1974.[24][2]

He has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 6¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

He was mentioned in the monologue before Phil Ochs' recording of "The Marines Have Landed on the Shores of Santo Domingo" on the 1966 album Phil Ochs in Concert.


Though a journalist himself, Lippmann did not assume that news and truth are synonymous. For Lippmann, the "function of news is to signalize an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them in relation with each other, and make a picture of reality on which men can act." A journalist's version of the truth is subjective and limited to how they construct their reality. The news, therefore, is "imperfectly recorded" and too fragile to bear the charge as "an organ of direct democracy."

To Lippmann, democratic ideals had deteriorated: voters were largely ignorant about issues and policies and lacked the competence to participate in public life and cared little for participating in the political process. In Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann noted that modern realities threatened the stability that the government had achieved during the patronage era of the 19th century. He wrote that a "governing class" must rise to face the new challenges.

The basic problem of democracy, he wrote, was the accuracy of news and protection of sources. He argued that distorted information was inherent in the human mind. People make up their minds before they define the facts, while the ideal would be to gather and analyze the facts before reaching conclusions. By seeing first, he argued, it is possible to sanitize polluted information. Lippmann argued that interpretation as stereotypes (a word which he coined in that specific meaning) subjected us to partial truths. Lippmann called the notion of a public competent to direct public affairs a "false ideal." He compared the political savvy of an average man to a theater-goer walking into a play in the middle of the third act and leaving before the last curtain.

Mass culture

Lippmann was an early and influential commentator on mass culture, notable not for criticizing or rejecting mass culture entirely but discussing how it could be worked with by a government licensed "propaganda machine" to keep democracy functioning. In his first book on the subject, Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann said that mass man functioned as a "bewildered herd" who must be governed by "a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality." The élite class of intellectuals and experts were to be a machinery of knowledge to circumvent the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the "omnicompetent citizen". This attitude was in line with contemporary capitalism, which was made stronger by greater consumption.

Later, in The Phantom Public (1925), Lippmann recognized that the class of experts were also, in most respects, outsiders to any particular problem, and hence not capable of effective action. Philosopher John Dewey (1859–1952) agreed with Lippmann's assertions that the modern world was becoming too complex for every citizen to grasp all its aspects, but Dewey, unlike Lippmann, believed that the public (a composite of many "publics" within society) could form a "Great Community" that could become educated about issues, come to judgments and arrive at solutions to societal problems.

In 1943, George Seldes described Lippmann as one of the two most influential columnists in the United States.[25][26]

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Lippmann became even more skeptical of the "guiding" class. In The Public Philosophy (1955), which took almost twenty years to complete, he presented a sophisticated argument that intellectual élites were undermining the framework of democracy. The book was very poorly received in liberal circles.[27]


Almond–Lippmann consensus

Similarities between the views of Lippmann and Gabriel Almond produced what became known as the Almond–Lippmann consensus, which is based on three assumptions:[28]

  1. Public opinion is volatile, shifting erratically in response to the most recent developments. Mass beliefs early in the 20th century were "too pacifist in peace and too bellicose in war, too neutralist or appeasing in negotiations or too intransigent"[29]
  2. Public opinion is incoherent, lacking an organized or a consistent structure to such an extent that the views of US citizens could best be described as "nonattitudes"[30]
  3. Public opinion is irrelevant to the policymaking process. Political leaders ignore public opinion because most Americans can neither "understand nor influence the very events upon which their lives and happiness are known to depend."[31][32]

Liberal/neoliberal debate

A meeting of liberal intellectuals mainly from France and Germany organized in Paris in August 1938 by French philosopher Louis Rougier to discuss the ideas put forward by Lippmann in his work The Good Society (1937), Colloque Walter Lippmann was named after him. This meeting is often referred to as the precursor of the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society, convened by Friedrich von Hayek, in 1947. At both meetings the discussions centered on what a new liberalism, or neoliberalism, should look like.


The Walter Lippmann House at Harvard University, which houses the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, is named after him too. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman used one of Lippmann's catch phrases, the "Manufacture of Consent," for the title of their book, Manufacturing Consent, which contains sections critical of Lippmann's views about the media.


  • A Preface to Politics(1913) ISBN 1-59102-292-4
  • Drift and Mastery (1914) ISBN 0-299-10604-7 [1]
  • The Stakes of Diplomacy (1915)
  • The Political Scene (1919)
  • Liberty and the News (1920)
  • Public Opinion (1922) ISBN 0-02-919130-0
  • The Phantom Public (1925) ISBN 1-56000-677-3
  • Men of Destiny (1927) ISBN 0-295-95026-9
  • American Inquisitors (1928)
  • A Preface to Morals (1929) ISBN 0-87855-907-8
  • Notes on the Crisis, John Day (1932)
  • Interpretations 1931–1932 (1932)
  • A New Social Order, John Day (1933)
  • The Method of Freedom (1934)
  • The New Imperative (1935)
  • Interpretations 1933–1935 (1936)
  • The Good Society (1937) ISBN 0-7658-0804-8
  • U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic (1943)
  • U.S. War Aims (1944)
  • The Cold War (1947) ISBN 0-06-131723-3
  • The Public Philosophy (1955) ISBN 0-88738-791-8

With William O. Scroggs:

  • The United States in World Affairs 1931 (1932)
  • The United States in World Affairs 1932 (1933)

See also


  1. ^ "Walter Lippmann's Wife Dead; Learned Russian to Assist Him". The New York Times. February 18, 1974. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Wooley, John T. and Gerhard Peters (December 14, 1974). "Gerald R. Ford: Statement on the Death of Walter Lippmann". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  3. ^ Lippmann, Walter (1922). Public Opinion. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. Retrieved 3 May 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ a b "Special Awards and Citations". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  5. ^ a b "International Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  6. ^ Blumenthal, Sydney (31 October 2007). "Walter Lippmann and American journalism today".
  7. ^ "Drucker Gives Lippmann Run As Most Influential Journalist". Chicago Tribune. 1998.
  8. ^ "Walter Lippmann and the American Century". Foreign Affairs (Fall 1980). 1980.
  9. ^ Pariser, Eli (2011). The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0143121237.
  10. ^ Snow, Nancy (2003). Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9/11. Canada: Seven Stories. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1583225578.
  11. ^ Schudson, Michael (2008). "The "Lippmann-Dewey Debate" and the Invention of Walter Lippmann as an Anti-Democrat 1985–1996". International Journal of Communication. 2.
  12. ^ Carey, James W. (March 1987). "The Press and the Public Discourse". The Center Magazine. 20.
  13. ^ Bethell, John T.; Hunt, Richard M.; Shenton, Robert. Harvard A to Z. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 183. ISBN 0-674-01288-7. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  14. ^ Who Belongs To Phi Beta Kappa Archived January 21, 2012, at WebCite, Phi Beta Kappa website, accessed October 4, 2009
  15. ^ Lingeman, Richard R. Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street pp. 40
  16. ^ George R. Lunn and the Socialist Era In Schenectady, New York, 1909-1916. by Kenneth E. Hendrickson Jr. New York History, Vol. 47, No. 1 (January 1966), pp. 22-40,
  17. ^ Lippmann, Walter (1920). Liberty and the News. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe. Retrieved February 2, 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  18. ^ Harvard's Military Record in the World War. pg. 584.
  19. ^ Steel, 125–26.
  20. ^ McPherson, Harry C. Jr. Review of "Walter Lippmann and the American century" by Ronald Steel Foreign Affairs, originally published Fall 1980
  21. ^ The American Presidency Project – Remarks at the Presentation of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom Awards – September 14, 1964
  22. ^ McPherson, Review of "Walter Lippmann and the American century"
  23. ^ "Writings of Walter Lippmann". C-SPAN. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  24. ^ Whitman, Alden (December 15, 1974). "Walter Lippmann, Political Analyst, Dead at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  25. ^ Culver, John; Hyde, John (2001). American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 482. ISBN 978-0393292046.
  26. ^ Seldes, George (1943). Facts and fascism. p. 260.
  27. ^ Marsden, George (2014). The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. New York: Basic Books. pp. 44–50. ISBN 978-0465030101.
  28. ^ Holsti,Ole, R., and James M. Rosenau. 1979. "Vietnam, Consensus, and the Belief Systems of American Leaders." World Politics 32. (October):1–56.
  29. ^ Lippmann, Walter. 1955. Essays in the Public Philosophy. Boston: Little, Brown.
  30. ^ Converse, Philip. 1964. "The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics." In Ideology and Discontent, ed. David Apter, 206–61. New York: Free Press.
  31. ^ Almond, Gabriel. 1950. The American People and Foreign Policy. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
  32. ^ Kris, Ernst, and Nathan Leites. 1947. "Trends in Twentieth Century Propaganda." In Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, ed. Geza Rheim, pp. 393–409. New York: International University Press.

Further reading

  • Clavé, Francis (2015). "Comparative Study of Lippmann's and Hayek's Liberalisms (or neo-liberalisms)". The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 22 (6): 978–999. doi:10.1080/09672567.2015.1093522.
  • Forcey, Charles. The Crossroads of Liberalism: Croly, Weyl, Lippmann, and the Progressive Era, 1900-1925 (1961).
  • Goodwin, Craufurd D. (2014). Walter Lippmann: Public Economist. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-36813-2.
  • Jackson, Ben (2012). "Freedom, the Common Good, and the Rule of Law : Lippmann and Hayek on Economic Planning". Journal of the History of Ideas. 72: 47–68.
  • Porter, Patrick. "Beyond the American Century: Walter Lippmann and American Grand Strategy, 1943–1950." Diplomacy & Statecraft 22.4 (2011): 557-577.
  • Riccio, Barry D. (1994). Walter Lippmann – Odyssey of a liberal. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56000-096-9.
  • Seyb, Ronald P. "What Walter Saw: Walter Lippmann, the New York World, and Scientific Advocacy as an Alternative to the News-Opinion Dichotomy" Journalism History 41.2 (2015): 58+ online
  • Steel, Ronald (1980). Walter Lippmann and the American century. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-7658-0464-8., a standard scholarly biography' online free; online review
  • Wasniewski, Matthew A. "Walter Lippmann, Strategic Internationalism, the Cold War, and Vietnam, 1943-1967" (PhD. Diss. U of Maryland 2004) online; bibliography pp 640–54.
  • Wellborn, Charles. Twentieth Century Pilgrimage: Walter Lippmann and the Public Philosophy (LSU Press, 1969).
  • Whitfield, Stephen J. "Walter Lippmann: A Career in Media's Rays." Journal of Popular Culture 15#1 (1981): 68-77.
  • Wright, Benjamin F. Five public philosophies of Walter Lippmann (U of Texas Press, 2015).

Primary sources

  • Lippmann, Walter. Public philosopher: selected letters of Walter Lippmann (1985) online free
  • Rossiter, Clinton, and James Lare, eds. The Essential Lippmann: A Political Philosophy for Liberal Democracy (1963). online free

External links

A Test of the News

A Test of the News is a 1920 study done by Walter Lippmann, a US journalist, and Charles Merz, later editorial page editor of The New York Times. They examined press coverage of the Bolshevik revolution for a three-year period beginning with the overthrow of the tsar in February 1917. They used The New York Times as their source because of its reputation for accurate reporting.Their study came out as a forty two page supplement to The New Republic in August 1920 and demonstrated that the Times' coverage was neither unbiased nor accurate. They concluded that the paper's news stories were not based on facts, but were "dominated by the hopes of the men who composed the news organizations." The paper cited events that did not happen, atrocities that never took place, and reported no fewer than 91 times that the Bolshevik regime was on the verge of collapse. "The news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see," Lippmann and Merz charged. "The chief censor and the chief propagandist were hope and fear in the minds of reporters and editors."

Alexander Rüstow

Alexander Rüstow (April 8, 1885 – June 30, 1963) was a German sociologist and economist. In 1938 he originated the term neoliberalism at the Colloque Walter Lippmann. He was one of the fathers of the "Social Market Economy" that shaped the economy of West Germany after World War II. He is the grandnephew of Wilhelm Rüstow, the grandson of Cäsar Rüstow and the father of Dankwart Rustow.

Colloque Walter Lippmann

The Walter Lippmann Colloquium (French: Colloque Walter Lippmann), was a conference of intellectuals organized in Paris in August 1938 by French philosopher Louis Rougier. After interest in classical liberalism had declined in the 1920s and 1930s, the aim was to construct a new liberalism as a rejection of collectivism, socialism and laissez-faire liberalism. At the meeting, the term neoliberalism was coined by Alexander Rüstow referring to the rejection of the (old) laissez-faire liberalism.

Guided democracy

Guided democracy, also called managed democracy, is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy. Such governments are legitimized by elections that are free and fair, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals.In other words, the government controls elections so that the people can exercise all their rights without truly changing public policy. While they follow basic democratic principles, there can be major deviations towards authoritarianism. Under managed democracy, the state's continuous use of propaganda techniques prevents the electorate from having a significant impact on policy.The concept of a "guided democracy" was developed in the 20th century by Walter Lippmann in his seminal work Public Opinion (1922) and by Edward Bernays in his work Crystallizing Public Opinion.

After World War II, the term was used in Indonesia for the approach to government under the Sukarno administration from 1957 to 1966. It is today widely employed in Russia, where it was introduced into common practice by Kremlin theorists, in particular Gleb Pavlovsky. Princeton University professor Sheldon Wolin describes this process as inverted totalitarianism.

An important distinction is the one between governments that have elections which are judged not free or fair by observers and governments which have elections considered both free and fair. The Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev has also been described as an illiberal democracy. Elections take place regularly, but many foreign observers (e.g. from the OSCE) do not consider them free or fair. Thirteen Russian journalists were assassinated between 2000 and 2003. Furthermore, most major television networks and newspapers are owned or controlled by the government and only openly support current government and state approved parties and candidates during elections.

Kay Halle

Katherine 'Kay' Murphy Halle (October 13, 1903 – August 7, 1997) was a Cleveland journalist, author, radio broadcaster, department store heiress, World War II intelligence operative with the Office of Strategic Services, and intimate confidant and/or mistress of many luminaries of the 20th century, including George Gershwin, Randolph Churchill, W. Averell Harriman, Joseph P. Kennedy, Walter Lippmann, and Buckminster Fuller. She compiled and edited Irrepressible Churchill: A Treasury of Winston Churchill's Wit in 1966.


Lippmann is a German surname, and may refer to:

Alexandre Lippmann (1881–1960), French Olympic champion fencer

Bernard Lippmann, American physicist, known for the Lippmann-Schwinger equation

Edmund Oscar von Lippmann (1857–1940), German chemist

Frank Lippmann (born 1961), German footballer

Horst Lippmann (1927–1997), German jazz musician

Gabriel Lippmann (1845–1921), physicist, inventor, and Nobel laureate in physics

Karl Friedrich Lippmann (1883–1957), German painter

Lippmann (crater)

Lippmann plate

Lippmann electrometer

Léontine Lippmann (1844–1910), French salon hostess

Walter Lippmann (1889–1974), American journalist

Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media is a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) and Noam Chomsky, in which the authors propose that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion", by means of the propaganda model of communication. The title derives from the phrase "the manufacture of consent," employed in the book Public Opinion (1922), by Walter Lippmann (1889–1974).The book was revised 20 years after its first publication to take account of developments such as the fall of the Soviet Union. There has been debate about how the Internet has changed the public’s access to information since 1988.

Manufacturing Consent (disambiguation)

Manufacturing Consent may refer to:

A phrase ("the manufacture of consent") coined by Walter Lippmann in his 1922 book Public Opinion

Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism, a 1979 book by Michael Burawoy

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, a 1992 documentary film based on the book by Herman and Chomsky

Mojo (comics)

Mojo is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, usually those featuring the X-Men family of characters. Created by writer Ann Nocenti and artist Arthur Adams, Mojo first appeared in Longshot #3 (November 1985), as the titular hero's archenemy, and subsequently a villain to the X-Men and their various sub-groups as well.

Mojo is one of the "Spineless Ones", an alien race that is immobile without advanced technology. He is a slaver who rules the Mojoverse, a dimension where all beings are addicted to his gladiator-like television programs. The character is an absurdist parody of network executives, and was created as a result of the influence of writers like Marshall McLuhan, Noam Chomsky, and Walter Lippmann on Nocenti.

Nieman Foundation for Journalism

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University is the primary journalism institution at Harvard. It was founded in 1938 as the result of a $1.4 million bequest by Agnes Wahl Nieman, the widow of Lucius W. Nieman, founder of The Milwaukee Journal. She stated the goal was "to promote and elevate the standards of journalism in the United States and educate persons deemed specially qualified for journalism." It is based at Walter Lippmann House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

People power

"People power" is a political term denoting the populist driving force of any social movement which invokes the authority of grassroots opinion and willpower, usually in opposition to that of conventionally organised corporate or political forces. "People power" can be manifested as a small-scale protest or campaign for neighbourhood change; or as wide-ranging, revolutionary action involving national street demonstrations, work stoppages and general strikes intending to overthrow an existing government and/or political system. It may be nonviolent, as was the case in the 1986 Philippines revolution which overthrew the Marcos régime, or may resort to violence, as happened in Libya in 2011. The term was first used by members of the 1960s "flower power" movement which initially protested against the Vietnam War.

In the Roman Republic the power of public opinion was a constraint on the Roman Senate; according to Polybius, "the Senate stands in awe of the multitude, and cannot neglect the feelings of the people."In his 1955 analysis of the weakness of democracy, Walter Lippmann, author of Public Opinion, offered this summary of people power:

What then are the true boundaries of the people's power? The answer cannot be simple. But for a rough beginning let us say that the people are able to give and withhold their consent to be governed — their consent to what the government asks of them, proposes to them, and has done in the conduct of their affairs. They can elect the government. They can remove it. They can approve or disapprove its performance. But they cannot administer the government. They cannot themselves perform. They cannot normally initiate and propose necessary legislation. A mass cannot govern.

Public Opinion (book)

Public Opinion is a book by Walter Lippmann, published in 1922. It is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially of the irrational and often self-serving social perceptions that influence individual behavior and prevent optimal societal cohesion. The detailed descriptions of the cognitive limitations people face in comprehending their sociopolitical and cultural environments, leading them to apply an evolving catalogue of general stereotypes to a complex reality, rendered Public Opinion a seminal text in the fields of media studies, political science, and social psychology.

Public opinion (disambiguation)

Public opinion is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population.

Public opinion may also refer to:

Public Opinion (book), a 1922 book by Walter Lippmann

“Public Opinion”, a character in Jacques Offenbach's operetta Orphée aux enfers, (Orpheus in the Underworld)

Public Opinion (TV series), a BBC TV panel game

Public Opinion (Chambersburg), a morning newspaper published in the Greater Chambersburg area

Public Opinion Quarterly, academic journal published by Oxford University Press for the American Association for Public Opinion Research

Watertown Public Opinion, American daily newspaper

Public Opinion, 1935 American film directed by Frank R. Strayer

Ronald Steel

Ronald Lewis Steel (born March 25, 1931) is an American writer, historian, and professor. He is the author of the definitive biography of Walter Lippmann.


Ruritania is a fictional country. Its name is usually invoked as a placeholder name to make points in academic discussions, much as Alice and Bob are in logic and computing. The origin of the name lies in novels by Anthony Hope, who developed a fictional country of central Europe as a setting.

The Inquiry

The Inquiry was a study group established in September 1917 by Woodrow Wilson to prepare materials for the peace negotiations following World War I. The group, composed of around 150 academics, was directed by presidential adviser Edward House and supervised directly by philosopher Sidney Mezes. The Heads of Research were Walter Lippmann, who was later replaced by Isaiah Bowman. The group first worked out of the New York Public Library, but later worked from the offices of the American Geographical Society of New York, once Bowman joined the group.Mezes's senior colleagues were geographer Isaiah Bowman, historian and librarian Archibald Cary Coolidge, historian James Shotwell, and lawyer David Hunter Miller. Progressive confidants who were consulted on staffing but who did not contribute directly to the administration or reports of the group included James Truslow Adams, Louis Brandeis, Abbott Lawrence Lowell and Walter Weyl.

Twenty-one members of The Inquiry, later integrated into the larger American Commission to Negotiate Peace, traveled to the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919, accompanying Wilson aboard the USS George Washington to France.

Also included in the group were such academics as Paul Monroe, professor of history at Columbia University, a key member of the Research Division who drew on his experience in the Philippines to assess the educational needs of developing areas such as Albania, Turkey and central Africa, and Frank A. Golder, a history professor from Washington State University specializing in the diplomatic history of Russia, who wrote papers on Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.

The Phantom Public

The Phantom Public is a book published in 1925 by journalist Walter Lippmann in which he expresses his lack of faith in the democratic system by arguing that the public exists merely as an illusion, myth, and inevitably a phantom. As Carl Bybee wrote, "For Lippmann the public was a theoretical fiction and government was primarily an administrative problem to be solved as efficiently as possible, so that people could get on with their own individualistic pursuits".

The Public

The Public is the people and society of a nation or community, or the whole of humanity.

The Public may also refer to:

The Public (band), a rock band from Illinois, United States

The Public (film), a 2018 film written and directed by Emilio Estevez

The Public (play), a 1930 play by Federico García Lorca, known in the original Spanish as El público

The Public (newspaper), alternative newsweekly in Buffalo, New York.

The Public Theater, a theatre company in New York City

The Public, West Bromwich, an English community arts project based in West Bromwich

The Phantom Public, a book published in 1925 by journalist Walter Lippmann, in which he expresses his lack of faith in the democratic system, arguing that the public exists merely as an illusion, myth, and inevitably a phantom

U.S. Foreign Policy (book)

U.S. Foreign Policy is a 1943 book by Walter Lippmann. It was published by Little, Brown and Company.

In academia
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