This paper is premised on the argument that an analysis of the speeches of American presidents can reveal much of the values of a generation of Americans. In this case, the author examines Bill Clinton as presidential candidate and as president to explore what it was in his campaign that appealed to the American electorate, what values and visions he advanced, and the ways in which those values spoke to the American character. He notes that with the end of the cold war, America has seemed, uncertain of its destiny and role, so absorbed had it been in the cold war struggle during the generations that followed World War II. In Clinton’s speeches, the author finds a call for action, a positive and sacrificial approach to American life resonant of the New Deal and New Frontier of Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He finds in Clinton an appeal to duty and honour, to basic morality and commitment to a sense of community, a commitment to the uniqueness of the American experiment and the optimism, of the American spirit, a departure from the culture of narcissism that he suggests characterized American in the 1980s.


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pp. 67-93
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