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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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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I WOULD like to firstly thank God for providing me with patience, guid- ance, support, and for using me to complete his master plan. Through him all things are possible. This work would not be possible without the support, encouragement, and guidance of different members of the discipline. I am indebted to Dr. John Geer, Dr. Bruce Oppenheimer, Dr. David Woodard, and Dr. Geoff Layman for the critiques and suggestions that they provided not only for the enrichment of the study, but toward the shaping of this project as a work that would stand in our discipline and against the rigors of peer re- view. I would also like to thank Presidential Studies Quarterly and Political Research Quarterly, for granting reprint of previously published work. I am especially grateful for the continuing support from Dr. David Woodard and Dr. John Geer. Dr. Woodard has been a model of a teacher, father, and husband whom I could only hope to emulate some day. He and his wife have been there for my family during times of trial and tribulation with unflagging support. Dr. John Geer provided me with the model of a mentor, teacher, researcher, and friend that stands as testament to his care and consideration. He was infinitely supportive and able to challenge my research and scholarship so that it could rise to new levels. I can never give enough credit here for what he has taught me. Lastly, I would like to thank my family. They have been...

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