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Since its identification in 1981, the rhetorical presidency has drawn both defenders and critics. Chief among those critical of the practice is political theorist Jeffrey K. Tulis, whose 1987 book, The Rhetorical Presidency, helped popularize the construct and set forth a sustained analysis of the baleful effects that have allegedly accompanied the shift from a “constitutional” presidency to a “rhetorical” one. Tulis locates this shift in the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, arguing that the rhetorical presidency is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Yet not all scholars agree with this assessment. Before the Rhetorical Presidency is an attempt to investigate how U.S. presidents in the nineteenth century communicated with their publics, both congressional and popular. In part 1, Martin J. Medhurst, Mel Laracey, Jeffrey K. Tulis, and Stephen E. Lucas set forth differing perspectives on how the rhetorical presidency ought to be understood and evaluated. In part 2, eleven scholars of nineteenth-century presidential rhetoric investigate the presidencies of Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley. As the first volume ever to focus on nineteenth-century presidents from a rhetorical perspective, Before the Rhetorical Presidency examines administrations, policies, and events that have never before been subjected to rhetorical analysis. The sometimes startling outcomes of these investigations reveal the need for continuing debate over the nature, practices, and effects of the rhetorical presidency. In a brief afterword, Medhurst raises eight challenges to the original formulation of the rhetorical presidency and in so doing sets forth an agenda for future studies.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Was There a Nineteenth-Century Rhetorical Presidency? A Debate Revisited
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Talking without Speaking, and Other Curiosities
  2. pp. 18-28
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  1. On the Forms of Rhetorical Leadership
  2. pp. 29-34
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  1. Present at the Founding: The Rhetorical Presidency in Historical Perspective
  2. pp. 35-41
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  1. Little Magic: Martin Van Buren and the Politics of Gender
  2. pp. 44-62
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  1. John Tyler and the Rhetoric of the Accidental Presidency
  2. pp. 63-82
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  1. James Knox Polk: The First Imperial President?
  2. pp. 83-105
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  1. Franklin Pierce and the Exuberant Hauteur of an Age of Extremes: A Love Song for Americain Six Movements
  2. pp. 106-165
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  1. James Buchanan: Romancing the Union
  2. pp. 166-193
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  1. Andrew Johnson and the Politics of Character
  2. pp. 194-212
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  1. Resolute Commander for Just Peace: The Rhetoric of Ulysses S. Grant
  2. pp. 213-242
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  1. The Challenges of Reunification: Rutherford B. Hayes on the Close Race and the Racial Divide
  2. pp. 243-266
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  1. The Problem with Public Memory: Benjamin Harrison Confronts the “Southern Question”
  2. pp. 267-288
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  1. Grover Cleveland andthe Nonrhetorical Presidency
  2. pp. 289-306
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  1. William McKinley and the Emergence of the Modern Rhetorical Presidency
  2. pp. 307-328
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  1. Afterword: Questioning the Rhetorical Presidency Construct
  2. pp. 329-334
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 335-337
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 338-356
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781603446266
Print ISBN
9781603440714
MARC Record
OCLC
726828935
Pages
356
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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