The Good Neighbor
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of American Power
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
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Title Page, Copyright
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In a way that is probably unusual for children of the Cold War, I grew up with World War II.My grandfather on my mother’s side served on General George 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 ...
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Franklin Roosevelt still fascinates. Partly this is because he gov-erned for so long; his sheer longevity established him as a key figure in the history of the twentieth century. Partly this is because he governed during such interesting times; the Depression and the Sec-ond 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 ...
Chapter One. A Neighborhood of Shared Values
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A democracy, the right kind of democracy, is bound together by the The metaphor of the “good neighbor” structured Franklin D. Roos-evelt’s understanding of a properly functioning polity, which he understood as a 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 ...
Chapter Two. Mobilizing the Neighborhood
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At our neighbor’s fireside we may find a new fuel for the fires of faith FDR used shared values as an inventional resource. This rhetoric allowed him to unite the nation as one neighborhood, enabled him to facilitate national thinking rather than local orientation, 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 pol-...
Chapter Three. Argument in Roosevelt’s Neighborhood
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Success . . . depends upon personal contact between neighbor and Roosevelt constituted the nation as a neighborhood united by shared values and mobilized on the basis of those values. His audience was both a congregation and a Christian army, orga-nized 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 exigen-...
Chapter Four. Roosevelt’s Moderate Neighborhood
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We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that, “the only FDR employed a significant amount of political rhetoric toward the tasks of unifying and mobilizing the nation on the basis of shared values. He did so using specific kinds of argumentation 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 ...
Chapter Five. Constituting a Global Neighborhood
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When Franklin Roosevelt took office, his concern was for the future of American democracy, and his primary actions were directed at internal matters. He sought to create a national consensus based on policies that enacted shared values and mobi-lized the nation to act in concert to protect those values. He wielded a variety of argumentative forms and authorized specific inclusions and exclusions through both rhetorical and policy choices. He under-...
Chapter Six. A New Deal for the World
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For today the more you travel, the more you realize that the whole world is one neighborhood. . . . And unless the peace that follows recognizes that the whole world is one neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the genesis of another world war will remain Franklin Roosevelt continues to captivate. His vision for the world remains both powerful and, in many ways, enticing. His pam-phlet advertising the Good Neighbor League was titled Don’t ...
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Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: 1st Hardcover
Series Title: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth