Communication And Culture | Seminar in History of Public Address
C737 | 1140 | Andrews J


Topic: Presidential rhetoric in the 20th century

This course will examine presidential rhetoric in the twentieth
century, focusing on the ways in which and the extent to which
presidential rhetoric developed. We will consider the influence of
cultural, political, and technological changes, studying how political
arguments interact with cultural norms and practices, practical
exigencies, the media through which they are communicated, and the
personal predilections and preferences of leaders.

The first part of the course will focus on theoretical
underpinnings for the study of presidential communication. Students will
read selections from such works as  Jefferey Tulis, The Rhetorical
Presidency, Martin Medhurst, Beyind the Rhetorical Presidency, Richard D.
Ellis, Speaking to the People: The Rhetorical Presidency in Historical
Perspective, Kathleen Jamieson, Eloquence in an Electronic Age, Kathleen
Jamieson and Karlyn Campbell, Deeds Done in Words: Presidential Rhetoric
and the Genre of Governance, and Carol Gelderman, All the President's
Words.

In the second part of the course, we will apply theoretical
insights as we consider the historical development  of the rhetorical
presidency.  We will consider Theodore Roosevelt's rhetorical career and
note changes from the traditional pattern of presidential communication.
Then, we will study Woodrow Wilson as the ostensive  progenitor of the
rhetorical presidency, beginning with his Inaugural Address, his first
State of the Union speechthe first delivered in person by a president
since John Adamshis speeches on behalf of domestic reform,
Americanization, and the like, and ending with his campaign for the
ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. From Wilson we will move to a
consideration of Franklin Roosevelt and his exploitation of the rhetorical
resources open to him, including the new radio technology and his fireside
chats. Lectures and some readings will be designed to set the rhetorical
moves in historical context. Other readings will include the texts of
major speeches and critical studies of Presidential rhetoric.

In the third part of the course we move into the post-WW II era.
Attention will be given to the technological impact on the rhetorical
presidencyparticularly the role of television in presidential politics and
governing. This section will take up about half of the course. Lectures
and discussions will be based on readings from works that address the
media's impact on presidential rhetoric, such as: Roderick Hart Verbal
Style and the Presidency, and The Sound of Leadership, Kathleen Jamieson,
Packaging the Presidency, Robert Denton and Dan Hahn, Presidential
Communication, Michael Grossman and Martha Kumar, Portraying the
President, Robert Friedenberg, Rhetorical Studies of National Political
Debates,  as well as studies related to the communication of specific
periods and presidents, such as, David Zarefsky's Lyndon Johnson's War on
Poverty and, Robert Denton's The Primetime Presidency of Ronald Reagan. In
addition, students will read such speech texts as: the "Truman Doctrine"
speech, Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" and his "Statement on Sending
Troops to Little Rock," John Kennedy's "Inaugural Address," "Statement on
the Freedom Rides," Lyndon Johnson's "We Shall Overcome" speech, Richard
Nixon's "Checkers" speech and his speech on the war in Vietnam, Reagan's
acceptance of the nomination, his "First Inaugural," and his "Challenger"
speech, along with George Bush's speech on the Gulf War and selected
speeches by Bill Clinton; the new president's Inaugral Address might also
be included.

The major assignment for the course will be a final research paper
on a topic chosen by the student. Summaries of papers will be presented in
the seminar..

James R. Andrews
Professor of Communication and Culture
Adjunct Professor of American Studies
Adjunct Professor of Victorian Studies
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-0246