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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the public’s understanding of the US presidency is shaped in part by the rhetorical genres that have been conventionalized by this institution, including the inaugural address, the State of the Union address, veto messages, the de facto line item veto, pardon messages, impeachment rhetoric, war rhetoric, rhetoric responding to crisis, national eulogies, and farewells. These genres of presidential rhetoric can be clustered into three broad categories, depending on the degree of freedom with which the president acts: those in which the president acts unilaterally; genres that take exception, invite cooperation with the legislative branch, or assert the right of the executive to act in domains in which the Constitution gives another branch specific powers; and those in which the Congress has greater control over the rhetorical situation than does the president.

Keywords: rhetorical genre, presidential rhetoric, rhetorical situation, inaugural address, war rhetoric, State of the Union address, national eulogies, impeachment rhetoric

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