From the Front Porch to the Front Page

Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication Series

Book 13
Texas A&M University Press
Free sample

The last presidential campaign of the nineteenth century was remarkable in a number of ways.

·It marked the beginning of the use of the news media in a modern manner.

·It saw the Democratic Party shift toward the more liberal position it occupies today.

·It established much of what we now consider the Republican coalition: Northeastern, conservative, pro-business.

It was also notable for the rhetorical differences of its two candidates. In what is often thought of as a single-issue campaign, William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous “Cross of Gold” speech but lost the election. Meanwhile, William McKinley addressed a range of topics in more than three hundred speeches—without ever leaving his front porch.

The campaign of 1896 gave the public one of the most dramatic and interesting battles of political oratory in American history, even though, ironically, its issues faded quickly into insignificance after the election.

In From the Front Porch to the Front Page, author William D. Harpine traces the campaign month-by-month to show the development of Bryan’s rhetoric and the stability of McKinley’s. He contrasts the divisive oratory Bryan employed to whip up fervor (perhaps explaining the 80 percent turnout in the election) with the lower-keyed unifying strategy McKinley adopted and with McKinley’s astute privileging of rhetorical siting over actual rhetoric.

Beyond adding depth and detail to the scholarly understanding of the 1896 presidential campaign itself (and especially the “Cross of Gold” speech), this book casts light on the importance of historical perspective in understanding rhetorical efforts in politics.
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About the author

William D. Harpine is a professor of communication at the University of Akron. The author of articles in a number of scholarly journals, he has concentrated on the 1896 election for several years. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Texas A&M University Press
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Published on
May 31, 2006
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Pages
230
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ISBN
9781585445592
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Hoover, the president of economic depression; Roosevelt the president of recovery—the public images of these two men are so firmly fixed that they offer shorthand ways to talk about the era we know as the Great Depression. Yet their views on economic policy for taking the country out of its greatest economic calamity were not so different as is often supposed.

Indeed, the famed journalist Walter Lippmann once claimed that Roosevelt’s legislative measures represented “a continuous evolution of the Hoover measures.” Moreover, both Hoover and Roosevelt shared a Keynesian conviction that public confidence was vital to recovery. They differed markedly, of course, in their ability to restore that confidence. Roosevelt’s advantage lay not just in his position in the changing of the guard. He employed a skilled staff of speech writers, and he had the negative example of Hoover before him from which to plot rhetorical strategies that would be more effective.

In Rhetoric as Currency, Houck uses the historical context of the Great Depression to explore the relationship of rhetoric to the economy and specifically economic recovery. He closely analyzes Hoover’s rhetorical corpus from March 4, 1929, through March 3, 1933, and Roosevelt’s from January 3, 1930, through June 16, 1933. This longitudinal study allows him to understand rhetoric as a process rather than a series of isolated, discrete products.

Houck first examines Hoover’s presidential rhetoric, tracing its paradoxes and the radical shift that occurred in the final year of his administration. The Depression, in his rhetoric, was a foe to be vanquished by an optimistic Christian and civic faith, not federal legislation. Once he determined that federal intervention was indeed required, he could not return to the dais; rather, he relied on an antagonistic press to carry his message of confidence. Abdicating the rhetorical pulpit, he left it in the hands of those opposed to him.

Houck then studies the economic rhetoric of Franklin Roosevelt as governor, candidate, president-elect, and finally president. He traces the key similarities and differences in Roosevelt's economic rhetoric with particular attention to an embodied economics, wherein recovery was premised less on mental optimism than a physical, active confidence.

When the stakes of public words and actions are global and permanent, and especially when they involve war and peace, can we afford not to seek their meaning? For three decades, Francis Beer has pioneered the effort to discover, describe, and connect pieces of the complex puzzle of war, peace, their interrelationship, and their causes.

In this volume, Beer (joined by colleagues as co-authors of some chapters) examines the cognitive, behavioral, and linguistic dimensions of war and peace. Language, he shows, is important because it mediates between thought and action. It expresses beliefs about war and peace and affects the perceptions of potential adversaries about one's own intentions. Using multiple perspectives and methods, he explores the uses of communication in international relations and the development of "meaning" for war and peace.

In this unique and innovative post-realist analysis, Beer examines how language transmits and creates meaning through interaction with specific audiences. His case studies include the Somalian intervention, Sarajevo and the Balkan conflict, and the Gulf War. Moving beyond the discrete words of war, the book takes a broader view of how political participants interact in war and peace through continuous streams of communication that reflect and construct worlds of meaning. This stimulating and challenging volume brings together insights and evidence from political science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, history, and rhetorical studies and applies them in a focused way to the problem of war and peace.
“I wish there were some great orator who would go about and make men drunk with this spirit of selfsacrifice . . . whose tongue might every day carry abroad the gold accents of that creative age in which we were born a nation; accents which would ring like tones of reassurance around the whole circle of the globe.”

These rousing words of academician Woodrow Wilson foreshadowed the role oratory would play in his own political career—a career that saw him triumph on his domestic agenda largely through his inspirational message but fail in his most cherished dream, the League of Nations, when words were not enough.

Robert Kraig’s path-breaking study of Wilson’s political philosophy of the oratorical statesman traces the classical influences on him as a young man, the development of his full-blown scholarly philosophy of oratory, and his use of rhetoric as governor of New Jersey and president of the United States. Although Wilson’s reputation as one of the most eloquent American presidents is firmly established, treatments of his life and presidency have largely ignored how his rhetorical leadership was formed.

Kraig addresses this oversight by examining the rich neoclassical traditions of Anglo-American oratory and statesmanship, the rhetorical pedagogy of the Gilded Age, and the development of Wilson’s own political thought. He concludes with consideration of how Wilson’s conception of oratorical leadership influenced his innovative conduct of the presidency.

The result is a revisionist interpretation of Wilson’s presidency that gives it a clearer historical context, shedding light on a neglected dimension of the political culture of the Progressive Era. In the process, Kraig reopens the question of how effective Wilson’s effort for international cooperation might have been had illness not struck him down.
Using analytic skills honed to a sharp edge with years of psychotherapy experience, John Berecz explores such contemporary issues as "Was Nixon a wife beater?" "Was Dubya smart enough to be president?" "Is Gore too uptight to lead the free world?" "Did the 2000 election boil down to a choice between personality and competence?" Skillfully, Berecz explores the relationship between character and personality, helping the reader understand how a man with the moral integrity of Jimmy Carter could bungle the presidency and a man like Clinton, with so little character, could manage it so successfully.
Drawing on thee decades of teaching and therapy, Berecz burrows beneath the surface of personality and character to reveal the real person working in the Oval Office. With penetrating insight and concise writing, the author acquaints the reader with the real people behind the pageantry of the presidency.
This book clearly disentangles the contradictions of Bill Clinton's presidency by examining his split personality. Berecz explains and clinically documents Clinton's dual personalities: a sociopathic personality (Slick Willy) and a codependent personality (Baptist Billy). Resulting from Clinton's two-world childhood, these personalities are only loosely connected an operate serially to control his behavior. Like many adult children of alcoholics (ACA), Clinton seeks-by-turn-to please or to manipulate. Baptist Billy told voters "I feel your pain," and he did, but Slick Willy said he "didn't inhale," and didn't have sex with "that woman."
Character in Chief is must reading for anyone interested in politics in general and the presidency in particular. With fairness and compassion Berecz will lead you to a deeper understanding of our great democracy and the people who lead it.
Hoover, the president of economic depression; Roosevelt the president of recovery—the public images of these two men are so firmly fixed that they offer shorthand ways to talk about the era we know as the Great Depression. Yet their views on economic policy for taking the country out of its greatest economic calamity were not so different as is often supposed.

Indeed, the famed journalist Walter Lippmann once claimed that Roosevelt’s legislative measures represented “a continuous evolution of the Hoover measures.” Moreover, both Hoover and Roosevelt shared a Keynesian conviction that public confidence was vital to recovery. They differed markedly, of course, in their ability to restore that confidence. Roosevelt’s advantage lay not just in his position in the changing of the guard. He employed a skilled staff of speech writers, and he had the negative example of Hoover before him from which to plot rhetorical strategies that would be more effective.

In Rhetoric as Currency, Houck uses the historical context of the Great Depression to explore the relationship of rhetoric to the economy and specifically economic recovery. He closely analyzes Hoover’s rhetorical corpus from March 4, 1929, through March 3, 1933, and Roosevelt’s from January 3, 1930, through June 16, 1933. This longitudinal study allows him to understand rhetoric as a process rather than a series of isolated, discrete products.

Houck first examines Hoover’s presidential rhetoric, tracing its paradoxes and the radical shift that occurred in the final year of his administration. The Depression, in his rhetoric, was a foe to be vanquished by an optimistic Christian and civic faith, not federal legislation. Once he determined that federal intervention was indeed required, he could not return to the dais; rather, he relied on an antagonistic press to carry his message of confidence. Abdicating the rhetorical pulpit, he left it in the hands of those opposed to him.

Houck then studies the economic rhetoric of Franklin Roosevelt as governor, candidate, president-elect, and finally president. He traces the key similarities and differences in Roosevelt's economic rhetoric with particular attention to an embodied economics, wherein recovery was premised less on mental optimism than a physical, active confidence.

When Edward P. Djerejian arrived in Beirut for his first Foreign Service assignment, the city was a thriving metropolis, a nexus for a diversity of religious beliefs, political ideas, and cultural practices. More than forty years since, the broader Middle East region is undergoing significant change in the face of a deep-rooted con-frontation between the forces of reaction and modernity in the rapidly growing Muslim populations. Serious deficits in education, political participation, economic progress, and human rights are exacerbated by unresolved conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, and between Arabs and Israelis.

Djerejian, an American diplomat who served eight presidents, both Democratic and Republican, from John F. Kennedy to William Jefferson Clinton, publicly shares for the first time intimate details and colorful anecdotes of his service in the Middle East. During his tenure, he developed close professional relationships with many of the region's secular and religious leaders and was a key advisor to Washington's highest-ranking officials and political leaders. He was instrumental in formulating U.S. policy in the region, and participated actively in Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, the release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon, and the formation of the U.S.-led coalition against Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

A leading expert on the Middle East, Djerejian asserts that Americans are confronted with one of the most important challenges of our time: the struggle of ideas between the forces of extremism and moderation in the Arab and Muslim world. Mistakenly assuming that radical political ideologies fell with communism at the end of the Cold War, policy makers are employing insufficient strategies to promote the important political, economic, commercial, cultural, and security interests that the United States -- and the rest of the world -- have in the region.

Djerejian explains what has gone wrong with U.S. policy and suggests a way forward for future admin-istrations. The United States must learn to deal with the complex religious, ethnic, and cultural factors at play in the Middle East. We must not impose our own political structure on the Arab and Muslim world, but we can help marginalize the radicals and champion a democratic way of life in conformity with the cultural context of the region's own mainstream values and ideals. In his captivating and illuminating book -- the only one of its kind to address the full scope of issues that U.S. leaders face in the Middle East -- Djerejian outlines specific coherent strategies necessary to respond effectively to the imminent danger and dynamic opportunity presented by the struggle within the Islamic world.
When the stakes of public words and actions are global and permanent, and especially when they involve war and peace, can we afford not to seek their meaning? For three decades, Francis Beer has pioneered the effort to discover, describe, and connect pieces of the complex puzzle of war, peace, their interrelationship, and their causes.

In this volume, Beer (joined by colleagues as co-authors of some chapters) examines the cognitive, behavioral, and linguistic dimensions of war and peace. Language, he shows, is important because it mediates between thought and action. It expresses beliefs about war and peace and affects the perceptions of potential adversaries about one's own intentions. Using multiple perspectives and methods, he explores the uses of communication in international relations and the development of "meaning" for war and peace.

In this unique and innovative post-realist analysis, Beer examines how language transmits and creates meaning through interaction with specific audiences. His case studies include the Somalian intervention, Sarajevo and the Balkan conflict, and the Gulf War. Moving beyond the discrete words of war, the book takes a broader view of how political participants interact in war and peace through continuous streams of communication that reflect and construct worlds of meaning. This stimulating and challenging volume brings together insights and evidence from political science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, history, and rhetorical studies and applies them in a focused way to the problem of war and peace.
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