Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan

Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan

Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan

Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan

Synopsis

This new short anthology rounds out Ronald Reagan's rhetorical persona and fills a major gap in the literature about the man by offering an unbiased and a multi-dimensional picture of his public speeches during all phases of his political life. The 51 speech texts are arranged, with short introductions, into six topical chapters covering his Hollywood years, his eight years as governor of California, his presidential campaigns of 1976 and 1980, and his two terms as president. This compact reference provides a representative collection of speeches on major issues, and includes a short bibliography pointing to major sources and important studies as well as a full index.

Excerpt

Any anthology of Ronald Reagan's speeches must, of necessity, be incomplete since thousands of speeches would translate into thousands of book pages. Thus, the questions arise: should the compiler include speeches exclusively from Reagan's presidential tenure, his gubernatorial years, or his "Hollywood" years, or some combination of orations from each of these "phases"? What "types" of speeches should be included: symbolic addresses such as State-of-the-Union/State messages, economic-related speeches, or orations addressing important social issues? Should the size or composition of the listening audience influence the choice of speeches? Should the compiler include only those speeches that bear the Reagan "signature," such as his famous 1964 televised address for Barry Goldwater's presidential bid or his 1980 address to the Republican National Convention?

Although these questions are difficult ones, our task has been informed by those who have preceded us in the same task. In addition to government publications such as The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, four edited books of Reagan's speeches have been published since 1968. They include: The Creative Society, edited byRonald Reagan and published byDevin-Adair in 1968; Ronald Reagan Talks To America, edited byRonald Reagan and published byDevin-Adair in 1983; A Time For Choosing:
The Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 1961-1982
, edited byAlfred A. Balitzer and published in 1983 byRegnery Gateway; and Speaking My Mind, edited byRonald Reagan and published in 1989 bySimon andSchuster.

Significantly, all four anthologies were edited either by Ronald Reagan or by individuals sympathetic to his politics. Hence, the reader of these anthologies receives a unidimensional picture of Reagan. For example, Balitzer, the editor of A Time For Choosing, notes, "This address [Reagan's speech for Goldwater], along with others in the book, represents the best of the President's public rhetoric and delineates the constant theme of his political career--the distinction between freedom and tyranny." The publishers of the anthologies are unabashed in their praise of Reagan's ideology. Devin-Adair refers to itself as . . .

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