Honors | The Presidential Voice
H204 | 17015 | James Andrews


MWF 11:15am-12:05pm

The course will examine significant ways in which presidential
communication has evolved within a changing political culture,
studying the nature of presidential rhetoric in various forms, such
as inaugurals, presidential messages to Congress, political
speeches, nineteenth-century newspapers and the rise of the
rhetorical/electronic presidency in the twentieth century

This course would begin with the debates over ratification of the
Constitution in order to examine the original arguments for and
against the presidency (as proposed in the Constitution) and their
implications for the rhetorical development of the office; we will
explore the underlying questions of the extent to which and the ways
in which communication  between the president and the “people” was
to be accomplished.  The course will move through significant events
of the nineteenth century as they relate to presidential rhetoric,
studying original documents (speeches, newspapers, presidential
messages, congressional and public debates) and critical studies
related to important issues, for example: Jefferson’s First
Inaugural read in the context of the 1800 election, Jackson’s veto
of the Bank Bill read against Whig attacks on the usurpation of
presidential power, the debate over the annexation of Texas, the
antebellum presidents’ communications regarding anti-slavery and
disunion, Lincoln’s First Inaugural read against Jefferson Davis’s
Inaugural, presidential communication and Reconstruction (including
the rhetorical efforts at reconciliation between North and South
that lasted into the twentieth century), the changing relationships
between the president and Congress as evidenced in presidential
rhetoric, as well as rhetorical developments in presidential
communication with the people. The rhetorical evolution of the
presidency has had important implications for such matters as policy
formation, the rise of the modern presidential campaign, and the
system of checks and balances. Special attention will be paid to
technological advances (from the wire services to radio to TV to the
internet) and their impact on presidential communication.