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

By Halford Ryan | Go to book overview

The founders expressed themselves as "We, the People" but Ford was "I, the President." This complicated his attempts at unification by dissociating him from the rest of the nation. The problem peaked when he used "we" to discuss foreign policy, where he objected to interference, and "I" in discussing domestic policy, for which he always stressed partnership. Ford's language and arguments sent mixed signals to his audiences. This problem changed in his acceptance speech when he spoke out forcefully, although belatedly, for what "we" would do in four-year term with a public mandate.

President Ford was most criticized for his controversial pardons. Both were grounded in his Episcopalian religion and its emphasis on forgiveness and mercy, and because he always looked for the good in people, he decided that people's mistakes should be weighed against their contributions. Richard Nixon had devoted his life to public service, and his career of accomplishments justified his pardon in Ford's eyes. Those who had deserted or evaded the draft had not yet compiled a record of public service sufficient to outweigh their transgressions, so Ford established a program that enabled them to earn pardons by doing so. Both pardons made perfect sense in Gerald Ford's philosophy of life. Unfortunately, he was never able to persuade quite enough Americans to his perspective. His VFW speech did a good job of inducing public quiescence over the earned pardons, but the case for the Nixon pardon was poorly made.

But if Gerald Ford was more talker than orator, he nevertheless significantly altered the nature of the rhetorical presidency. After ten years of the Johnson- Nixon deviousness, Gerald Ford restored presidential rhetoric to its rightful place in the process of representative government. More than they, Ford assumed public responsibility for his decisions, explained his reasons, and rarely resorted to blaming others. And by example he virtually insured that future incumbents would have to debate their challengers during the campaign or lose face. Gerald Ford was able to do all of this, perhaps, because of the lessons he had learned about forgiveness at the Episcopal church in Grand Rapids and on the football field at Michigan. Indeed, the themes of competition and forgiveness merge in a sentence near the end of his last State of the Union address. Speaking to the House, the Senate, his cabinet, the Supreme Court, the press, and the nation via television from the House chamber where he had served for so many years, Ford said, "It was here we waged many, many a lively battle--won some, lost some, but always remaining friends."


RHETORICAL SOURCES

Archival Materials

The Gerald R. Ford Library, on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, holds the archives from Ford's entire career. Because of the post- Watergate climate there are fewer informal memoranda and notations than in many of the other presidential libraries. Although a visitor to the Library can

-296-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
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
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 392

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.