Speaking with the People's Voice: How Presidents Invoke Public Opinion

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Texas A&M University Press, Mar 3, 2014 - Political Science - 208 pages
The role of public opinion in American democracy has been a central concern of scholars who frequently examine how public opinion influences policy makers and how politicians, especially presidents, try to shape public opinion. But in Speaking with the People’s Voice: How Presidents Invoke Public Opinion, Jeffrey P. Mehltretter Drury asks a different question that adds an important new dimension to the study of public opinion: How do presidents rhetorically use public opinion in their speeches?

In a careful analysis supported by case studies and discrete examples, Drury develops the concept of “invoked public opinion” to study the modern presidents’ use of public opinion as a rhetorical resource. He defines the term as “the rhetorical representation of the beliefs and values of US citizens.”

Speaking with the People’s Voice considers both the strategic and democratic value of invoked public opinion by analyzing how modern presidents argumentatively deploy references to the beliefs and values of US citizens as persuasive appeals as well as acts of political representation in their nationally televised speeches.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Symbolic Sovereignty of the People
21
Driving the Bandwagon
38
Hail to the People
66
Political Correctives
95
The Presidential Balancing Act
125
Notes
137
Bibliography
175
Index
189
Back Cover
197
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

JEFFREY P. MEHLTRETTER DRURY is an assistant professor of rhetoric at Wabash College.

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