U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Halford Ryan | Go to book overview

to marshall the rhetorical potential of the government and the press to shape public opinion and influence the Congress on behalf of this legislation, and delivered a major address in the midst of the Senate debate. With this concerted effort, Roosevelt was among the first presidents to illustrate the rhetorical potentials of the presidency.


CONCLUSION

Although many of Theodore Roosevelt's most memorable public speeches were not made while he served as president, he nevertheless left an imposing rhetorical legacy for his successors in the White House. Years before assuming the presidency, Roosevelt recognized the importance of public opinion. Assuming the presidency upon McKinley's death, Roosevelt found himself more distanced from the Congressional leadership of his own party than most presidents. By exploiting the rhetorical potentials of the presidency, Roosevelt aroused public opinion behind his positions and hence exerted pressure on Congress. Prior presidents could work through the party structures and the congressional leadership to secure passage of their legislative agendas. Roosevelt was an "accidental president" whose growing progressive sympathies often antagonized the leaders of his own party. Hence, his exploitation of the rhetorical potentials of the presidency, especially evident in the fight to secure passage of the Hepburn Act, was the natural response of an activist president thwarted by the normal means of exerting leadership.

Roosevelt recognized and utilized the full rhetorical potential of the presidency better than most of his predecessors. During his stewardship, the presidency was a genuine "bully pulpit" as Roosevelt expanded the communicative potentialities of the presidency. Because he exploited the rhetorical power of the presidency to a greater extent than virtually any of his predecessors, Roosevelt is justifiably associated with the birth of the modern rhetorical presidency.


RHETORICAL SOURCES

Archival Materials

The principal Roosevelt collections are found at the Library of Congress and at Harvard University. The Library of Congress collection, which centers on Roosevelt's presidential years, is available on microfilm. That collection includes draft manuscripts that illustrate the evolution of some Roosevelt speeches.

The Roosevelt collection at Harvard is based upon the library of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association, which was given to Harvard in the 1940s and has since been kept up to date. An exceptional collection, it is especially rich in contemporary periodical accounts of Roosevelt's speaking. It also includes speech manuscripts, Roosevelt diaries, and scrapbooks. The latter are especially helpful for newspaper accounts of Roosevelt's speaking.

The principal published primary sources for Roosevelt's speaking are:

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U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • An Introduction to Presidential Oratory ix
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES xvii
  • George Washington (1732-1799) 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 16
  • John Adams (1735-1826) 18
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 26
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 28
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 40
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 43
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 52
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 54
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 63
  • Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 65
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 75
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 77
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 89
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 93
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 107
  • Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) 111
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 132
  • Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) 134
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 144
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 146
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 164
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 168
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 187
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 190
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 204
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) 210
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 225
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) 228
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 245
  • Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) 249
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 269
  • Gerald R. Ford (1913- ) 274
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 296
  • Jimmy Carter (1924- ) 299
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 311
  • Ronald Reagan (1911- ) 316
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 337
  • George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) 344
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 358
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 361
  • RHETORICAL RESOURCES 374
  • Index 377
  • About the Editor and Contributors 387
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