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Jacqueline Kennedy and the Architecture of First Lady Diplomacy


Elizabeth J. Natalle

This unique rhetorical analysis of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s communication uncovers five forms of soft diplomacy that catapult her to the top of all American first ladies as a model of international influence. Her use of interpersonal, fashion, language, cultural, and state diplomatic strategies constitutes an architectural plan of smart power. Breaking away from the stereotype of Mrs. Kennedy as a style icon, the evidence in this monograph supports her astute awareness of how to support the Kennedy Administration’s foreign policy during the Cold War era by engaging state visits to Europe and South America, receiving heads of state at the White House, creating cultural ideals of freedom through art and preservation, and using French and Spanish to speak directly to the people of other countries. Her persuasive tactics set the stage for future first ladies to excel in a role that requires creativity and sound judgment. Students in communication, political science, history, rhetoric, and women’s studies will benefit from this book in their own study of first ladies, the presidency, foreign policy, and Cold War history. Written in an engaging style, Jacqueline Kennedy and the Architecture of First Lady Diplomacy will appeal to a range of scholarly interests across disciplines.

Preface – Acknowledgments – Part I. Theorizing First Ladies and International Diplomacy – American First Ladies and Diplomacy – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s International Education – Part II. Mrs. Kennedy’s State Visits – Canada and Fashion Diplomacy – France, Austria, and England: Personalities and Cold War Threat – Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico: The Southern Hemisphere and the Alliance for Progress – India and Pakistan: Negotiating in Twos – Part III. Domestic Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Strength – Cultural Diplomacy – The Mona Lisa and Abu Simbel – Orchestration of the State Funeral and the JFK International Legacy – Epilogue – Index.