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The Evolutionary Rhetorical Presidency

Tracing the Changes in Presidential Address and Power

Ryan Lee Teten

This book is an evolutionary examination of the rhetoric of the President of the United States, from George Washington to George W. Bush. It provides a close analysis of the history and content of inaugural addresses, State of the Union addresses, presidential proclamations, and executive orders in order to trace the changes in their use and impact from their origin to the present day. Content analysis of these forms of executive address are combined with case studies and illustrations to provide a complete look at the way that – contrary to the widely held ascription to a clear «traditional» versus «modern» divide – the presidents of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries have all contributed to the rhetorical tools and powers that the current president wields in the execution of his duty. The Evolutionary Rhetorical Presidency is widely useful not only for standard governmental classes on, for example, the Presidency or on political communication, but also for courses in history, leadership studies, and rhetoric.

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LIST OF FIGURES ix

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FIGURES 1.1 The Four Different Types of Presidential Address and the Presidents and Number of Speeches Included in the Study ................ 23 2.1 The Percentage of Popular Reference versus Congressional Address in the State of the Union Address ......................................... 35 2.2 The Percentage of Identification Rhetoric in the State of the Union Address per President............................................................... 47 2.3 The Average Percentage of Identification Rhetoric in Presidential Inaugurals............................................................................................ 54 2.4 The Average Percentage of Identification Rhetoric in Presidential Proclamations...................................................................................... 56 2.5 The Average Percentage of Identification Rhetoric in Presidential Executive Orders ................................................................................. 57 2.6 The Percentage of Presidential Proclamations that are Holiday or Observance Related ........................................................................ 62 2.7 The Holiday or Observance Related Proclamations Issued by George W. Bush in 2007..................................................................... 65 2.8 The Average Percentage of Authority Rhetoric in the State of the Union Address per President..................................................... 70 2.9 The Average Percentage of Authority Rhetoric in Presidential Inaugural Addresses ............................................................................ 74 2.10 The Average Percentage of Authority Rhetoric in Presidential Proclamations...................................................................................... 80 2.11 The Average Percentage of Authority Rhetoric in Presidential Executive Orders ................................................................................. 80 2.12 The Average Percentage of Directive Rhetoric in the State of the Union Address per President ......................................................... 87 The Evolutionary Rhetorical Presidency x 2.13 The Average Percentage of Directive Rhetoric in Presidential Inaugural Addresses ............................................................................ 91 2.14 The Average Percentage of Directive Rhetoric in Presidential Proclamations...................................................................................... 96 2.15 The Average Percentage of Directive Rhetoric in Presidential Executive Orders ................................................................................. 96 3.1 The Number of Words per State of the Union Address per Year ..... 110 3.2 The Average Word Number per State of the Union Address...

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