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A key element of any system of state security is the capacity to gather support, whether for a political or societal position or objective. Propaganda is the art of persuading an intended audience to follow, cooperate, or support such an objective. The misuse and manipulation of facts in some propaganda have lent the word a pejorative connotation; but as long as there is a truthful presentation of the facts, propaganda has a legitimate and potentially positive role to play. This entry reviews the use of propaganda in both the modern era and prior eras.

The legitimate use of propaganda rests on how it is used, not the motives or the intent of the creators of the propaganda. A ruthless totalitarian regime may use propaganda correctly to ...

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