Fun and Facts About American Business: An Animated Education in the Free Enterprise System

Neary, Natasha (2018) Fun and Facts About American Business: An Animated Education in the Free Enterprise System. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines themes of American conservatism in the years 1930 – 1950, with a focus on the politics of FDR’s New Deal and pro-free enterprise ideology. Its findings coincide with a growing historiography that argues that conservative activism, particularly in the form of corporate-evangelical partnerships, surfaced in the 1930s, and not in the 1980s as scholars have previously asserted. It is clear from existing evidence that corporate conservatives and right-wing evangelicals worked together to attempt to reverse the economic policies of Roosevelt’s administration and salvage the reputation of the free enterprise system during the Great Depression and into the postwar period. Public relations campaigns were at the core of their efforts, culminating in an abundance of corporate-sponsored educational films that stressed conservative notions of Americanism.

By utilising methodologies drawn from history, film, and cultural studies, this thesis will determine the success of Alfred Sloan and George Benson’s educational film series, Fun and Facts About American Business. It will expand upon existing ground-breaking studies on the relationship between business and religion yet question why scholars have neglected the efforts of two highly influential figures. Sloan and Benson rose to prominence during the 1930s and were instrumental in disseminating pro-American propaganda during the period under examination. Their reputation enabled Fun and Facts to surpass the popularity of previously released corporate films and reach national audiences. The series is a significant, yet overlooked, example of how the struggle against liberalism contributed to the power of conservative activism in the decades following the Second World War.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: American conservatism, Animation, Evangelicalism, Propaganda, Corporate America
Subjects: L200 Politics
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2019 14:46
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2019 08:20
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39992

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