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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Addressing the public is one of the central functions of the modern presidency. Accordingly, scholars have devoted considerable attention to studying not only formal oratory, but also all manner of presidential communication aimed at the public. This chapter surveys this research, focusing on how (the content of the message), why (the production of the message), and with what effect (the consequences of the message) presidents address the public. Among the topics the chapter addresses are the following: the rhetorical presidency and its distinction from presidential rhetoric; the importance of genres in determining the nature of presidential address; the key changes that have taken place in presidential address over time; and the different ways of understanding the impact of presidential address. The chapter concludes by stressing the need for research in this area to better account for visual information and the rise of the Internet and to more thoroughly engage with theory.

Keywords: genre, political discourse, president, rhetoric, rhetorical presidency

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