After three decades in the candy manufacturing business, Robert Welch founded the John Birch Society (“JBS”) in late 1958 to promote what his organization called the goal of “less government, more responsibility, and a better world.” In practice, this meant attacking communism and so-called “communist sympathizers” (some observers credit Welch with coining the phrase “comsymps”) and promoting US nationalism by advocating against immigration and US involvement in international ventures such as the United Nations. Welch and JBS frequently referred to this overarching project as promoting “Americanism.” Owing to its status as one of the most prominent right-wing groups of the 1960s (it boasted several members who were also Congresspeople), Group Research, Inc. paid particular attention to the Society.
The image pictured here formed the top portion of a two-piece cover of a publicity brochure JBS produced to explain its function, organizational structure, and initiatives. (Click on image to reveal the second piece.) The pictured cover featured a round cut-out above the title, leaving a detail from the first page visible. The bridge is a replica of Concord’s North Bridge located at the original site where soldiers fired the first shots of the American Revolution. On the interior page, an Emerson quotation located above the full picture is from his 1836 work, “Concord Hymn,” which he wrote to accompany the unveiling of a war memorial at the site. JBS included a caption for this image with the anachronistic term “Americanists” to describe the patriots of the American Revolution, intended to suggest a continuity of ideas between them and John Birch Society members.