Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. VII

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Acknowledgments

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pp. IX-X

The chapters in this volume were first presented in a preliminary form at the Second Annual Conference on Presidential Rhetoric, held at Texas A&M University from March 1-3, 1996. These annual conferences are sponsored by the Program in Presidential Rhetoric, a joint...

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Introduction Presidential Speechwriting

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pp. 3-19

For those who had observed Bush during his years as Texas governor or during the early stages of his primary campaign, the eloquence of the inaugural must have come as somewhat of a shock. How could a man who only months before had managed to mangle sentences, mispronounce words, and give a new meaning to...

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Chapter 1 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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pp. 21-39

Scholars in this volume address the initial classical canon of rhetoric, which the Greeks termed heuristic and the Romans called inventio, as they investigate the creation of presidential persuasions. The critics also acknowledge a classical practice, begun by Antiphon, generally accepted as one of the first Athenian logographers, that political rhetoric...

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Chapter 2 Harry S. Truman

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pp. 40-67

Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan recounted that in her initial attempt to meet the man for whom she was writing she “first saw him as a foot” before being told that the meeting was canceled. In her fourth month on the job she finally met and spoke with the president—a meeting, which she believed,...

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Chapter 3 Dwight D. Eisenhower

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pp. 68-91

The Eisenhower presidency for years presented scholars with the enigma of a leader whose success as a communicator seemed to come without apparent ability or effort on his own part. While conceding that he enjoyed “remarkable rhetorical success,” critics dismissed Eisenhower as idle and ineffectual, a “captive hero” with little direct influence over the...

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Chapter 4 John F. Kennedy

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pp. 92-107

In April and May of 1963 Theodore C. Sorensen, special counsel to President John F. Kennedy, delivered the Gino Speranza Lectures at Columbia University, which were subsequently published under the title, Decision Making in the White House. Kennedy himself wrote the foreword to the book describing Sorensen as “an astute and sensitive...

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Chapter 5 Lyndon B. Johnson

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pp. 108-136

Lyndon Baines Johnson took his oath of office on Air Force One, with its blinds closed, engines running, and with the casket of a slain young president behind a curtain. The death of President Kennedy was not that of a monarch after which the crowd would cry, “the King is dead; long live the King!” 1 Johnson had lived under the shadow...

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Chapter 6 Richard M. Nixonand Gerald R. Ford

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pp. 137-164

With the overthrow of Thrasybulus in 467 B.C., the island of Sicily restored democracy but suddenly was plagued with lawsuits concerning land claims. The government ruled that petitioners were to present their own cases without the aid of counsel. The more inventive...

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Chapter 7 Jimmy Carter

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pp. 165-193

There are many pathways for exploring the nature and function of speechwriting in the presidential administration of Jimmy Carter, but this chapter begins the journey with two poems. The first, titled “On Using Words,” complains that when the writer seeks “efficient words” to express a truth, he finds that “the vagueness...

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Chapter 8 Ronald Reagan’s Bully Pulpit

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pp. 194-216

More than any other modern president, Ronald Reagan sought to exploit the moral possibilities of the rhetorical presidency. He used his “bully pulpit” to try to convince the public that his values and ideas about personal responsibility and the good society were right. In other words, he sought to change the mores of Americans...

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Afterword Enduring Issues in Presidential Speechwriting

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pp. 217-220

If persistent myths have hampered the scholarly study of presidential speechwriting, then just as surely enduring issues have characterized both the practice itself and analysis of that practice. Several of these enduring issues are highlighted in this volume. Four seem paramount...

Contributors

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pp. 221-222

Index

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pp. 223-231