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The Good Neighbor

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of American Power

Mary E. Stuckey

Publication Year: 2013

No modern president has had as much influence on American national politics as Franklin D. Roosevelt. During FDR’s administration, power shifted from states and localities to the federal government; within the federal government it shifted from Congress to the president; and internationally, it moved from Europe to the United States. All of these changes required significant effort on the part of the president, who triumphed over fierce opposition and succeeded in remaking the American political system in ways that continue to shape our politics today. Using the metaphor of the good neighbor, Mary E. Stuckey examines the persuasive work that took place to authorize these changes. Through the metaphor, FDR’s administration can be better understood: his emphasis on communal values; the importance of national mobilization in domestic as well as foreign affairs in defense of those values; his use of what he considered a particularly democratic approach to public communication; his treatment of friends and his delineation of enemies; and finally, the ways in which he used this rhetoric to broaden his neighborhood from the limits of the United States to encompass the entire world, laying the groundwork for American ideological dominance in the post–World War II era.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xii

...C. Marshall’s staff during the war. As a West Point graduate and career military officer, he and his family were, if not in the class of those who would have gone, as the famous cartoon had it, to the Trans- Luxe to hiss Roosevelt, also not among those who suffered most deeply during those years. My grandmother, though, never forgot the time they didn’t get a paycheck and the anxiety that this event produced...

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pp. 1-24

...he governed during such interesting times; the Depression and the Second World War as cataclysms blessedly stand alone in history. Partly it is because history does in fact repeat itself, and we can look to his experience to enlighten and edify our own. And partly it is because he did so much to influence the nature of his times; there are many limits...

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Chapter One. A Neighborhood of Shared Values

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pp. 25-56

...community in which citizens were unified by their allegiance to a specific set of values. Those values included the primacy of transcendent goods above material goods, the moral value of work, and a commitment to social justice. Roosevelt is perhaps best understood as employing a “rhetoric of militant decency” that “revolved around the appropriate use of power, his concern for social order, the...

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Chapter Two. Mobilizing the Neighborhood

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pp. 57-94

...authorized his assumption of increased federal and presidential power, and set the stage for the American assumption of global power. But while shared values constituted a particular national political identity and politics, this rhetoric also had a mobilizing function. Good neighbors, for FDR, were active, not passive. In the previous chapter the focus was...

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Chapter Three. Argument in Roosevelt’s Neighborhood

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pp. 95-130

...Christian army, organized and ready to defend their values and their beliefs. Sometimes these two understandings of neighborhood existed in tension with one another, and these tensions could create political and rhetorical exigencies with which the president was forced to deal. One way of dealing...

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Chapter Four. Roosevelt’s Moderate Neighborhood

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pp. 131-166

...that both reinforced his own political power and enabled a complicated, multifaceted political community based in a particular understanding of democratic citizens as rational, capable of making distinctions, and living in a global neighborhood characterized by relationships of political friendship. His polity was one in which citizens could agree on the basic...

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Chapter Five. Constituting a Global Neighborhood

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pp. 167-200

...neighborhood and applied the same logics to the international realm as he did to national politics. His Good Neighbor Policy provided a structure for how he understood American relations with the other nations in the hemisphere. It also provided a rubric for how he understood America’s place in the world more generally. The metaphor of the good neighbor authorized a particularly democratic view of the...

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Chapter Six. A New Deal for the World

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pp. 201-212

...democratically enabled debates, dedicated to protecting and nurturing the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, and at peace with the world. Sentimental and idealistic, even cloying in spots, Roosevelt’s America is a profoundly attractive place. Most of all, I think, the optimism and hope that run throughout his vision of America draw us back again...


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pp. 213-282


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pp. 283-294


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pp. 295-300

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173906
E-ISBN-10: 1609173902
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860993
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860997

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st Hardcover