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"Going Public" in the Nineteenth Century: Grover Cleveland's Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act

From: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 2002
pp. 57-77 | 10.1353/rap.2002.0008

Abstract

Political scientists typically view the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as the age of the rhetorical presidency. Grover Cleveland's experience with the Sherman Silver Purchase Act demonstrates not only that earlier presidents successfully wooed the public, but also that the understanding of rhetoric put forth by scholars such as Jeffrey K. Tulis, Samuel Kernell, and James Ceaser is extremely limiting. Expanding the notion of rhetoric to include all persuasive behavior offers a means for those who study the presidency to understand presidential rhetoric as a function of the structure of the executive—a constitutive aspect of the office rather than an aberrant behavior.