Author

John Phillips

Date of Award

2001

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Advisor

Nathan Godfried

Second Committee Member

Martha McNamara

Third Committee Member

Marli K. Weiner

Abstract

Created in 1910 during the Progressive Era the Boy Scouts of America was a civic reform, middle-class, professional organization intent on building the characters of America's juvenile boys, believing that America's transformation from a rural and small town culture to an ban society had removed some of the traditional character building opportunities from the boy's normal daily routine. The BSA was mass-oriented and commercial in nature, utilizing a sophisticated advertising program through which it sold itself as the nation's premiere patriotic character building organization and communicated a nationalistic political mythology. The BSA's emphasis on advertising, not just as a method of promotion but as an important segment of scout training, as well as the interest the business community took in the BSA, combined to give the organization a commercial makeup. This paper will show that the BSA was a commercial effort created to deal with the problems of twentieth-century urbanization.

Share