Benthamite Propaganda: Transcribe Bentham Needs You!

By Kris Grint, on 1 August 2013


For anyone interested in the history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain, the term “Benthamite Propaganda” typically conjures up attempts made by the Utilitarians to diffuse Bentham’s radical ideas to the public at large, in the face of stern conservative opposition from the likes of the Whigs and Tories. Bentham’s own Plan of Parliamentary Reform, the essays of his disciple James Mill (father of John Stuart Mill) in the Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the foundation of the Westminster Review, the radical quarterly, in 1823 are just three such examples of the concerted drive to promote Bentham’s philosophical and political thought.

Here at Transcribe Bentham in the twenty-first century, however, we have appropriated the term “Benthamite Propaganda” to describe our latest campaign to attract new volunteers for our crowdsourced online transcription initiative. The campaign consists of a poster depicting Jeremy in the famous pose of James Montgomery Flagg’s Uncle Sam. Our aim is to spread this poster as far and wide as possible, and both on and off-line, to help further our objective of transcribing the entire corpus of Jeremy Bentham’s manuscripts.

Whilst our propaganda campaign begins in earnest at UCL, you can also help “Uncle Jeremy” by displaying a copy of the poster at your university, school or library, or on your website, Facebook profile or Twitter. We would also love to see photos of the poster in situ – the more creative the location, the better!

Download a high resolution PDF file [2.66MB] of the poster suitable for printing or email us at transcribe.bentham@ucl.ac.uk to enquire about ordering a large A3 version for display.