Enumerate some of the stages through which PR passed before it matured as a full-fledged area of study?
In ancient period, rulers used to propagate through bards and wandering minstrels to create a favorable image among the public. The Greeks and the Romans are known to have realized the importance of the public opinion. It is evident from the writings of the medieval period that it was the Romans who coined the expression, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (the Voice of People is the Voice of God).
Public relations received support when public opinion became a powerful force in society with the development of certain democratic institutions. The free press, adult franchise, organs of elected representatives of the people, such as the parliament, the legislatures and elected local government institutions made it possible for the common man to make his voice heard. The public opinion emerged as a force to be reckoned with and it became necessary for organization’s to win the support and goodwill of the public.
The American War of Independence, the civil war contributed to the growth of PR by mobilizing human resources. The British settlers in American colonies used different techniques to communicate and motivate the people. The First World War gave a big boost to the PR. The war effort required effective communication and those who worked in this efforts gained expertise and contributed to the field of Public relations. There was also the stage of Press Agentry, when attempts were lade to get publicity in the press by use of gimmicks.
Finally, there was the stage when growth of the mass media made it imperative for the business to become socially responsible and need public opinion. Finally, his environment led to development of PR.