The Bully Pulpit

Presidential Rhetoric from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald J. Trump (First Edition)
Edited by Theodore F. Sheckels
©2021, 390 pages

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The Bully Pulpit

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    Theodore Roosevelt began explicitly using public address as what he termed a “bully pulpit” during his presidency. Public address provided him the opportunity to talk to the people—and thereby put pressure on reluctant public figures to effect policy. In doing so, Roosevelt significantly enlarged the rhetorical impact of the presidency. After Roosevelt, presidents have used this “bully pulpit” to different degrees, but the idea of speaking directly to the people on a regular basis--as well as to Congress--has inarguably affected the presidency and the nation’s politics.

    The Bully Pulpit contains words of every president from Theodore Roosevelt onward. The opening chapter introduces readers to various ways of studying presidential rhetoric. Selections include inaugural addresses, foreign policy pronouncements, State of the Union addresses, political campaign and convention speeches, farewell addresses and eulogies, press conferences, and written texts and tweets. The book includes famous speeches as well as relatively unknown gems, such as Wilson speaking on woman’s suffrage, Harding on civil rights, and Truman rallying the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Brief biographical sketches, head notes, and discussion questions provide readers with background, context, and opportunities for reflection.

    The Bully Pulpit is the ideal anthology for courses in presidential rhetoric, American public address, and political communication. It also serves as a valuable supplementary text for courses in political science.

    Theodore F. Sheckels (Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University) is the Charles J. Potts Professor of Social Science, as well as a professor of English and communication studies, at Randolph-Macon College. Dr. Sheckels has contributed numerous articles and book chapters and has published thirteen books, including Rhetorical Criticism: Empowering the Exploration of “Texts" and The Bully Pulpit: Presidential Rhetoric from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald J. Trump. His research interests include presidential debates, the political dimensions of Margaret Atwood’s fiction, and a wide range of political communicators from the 20th Century including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
    Other Cognella titles by Theodore F. Sheckels:

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    Theodore Sheckels has received the 2022 Richard E. Vatz Agenda-Spin Persuasion Award from the Eastern Communication Association. The award is granted to a current member of ECA who indicates by their writing and/or media work a dedication to persuasion or political persuasion consistent with the rhetorical perspective argued in Dr. Vatz's “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation” and The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: The Agenda-Spin Model (LAD Custom Publishing, 2021: Learn more on the ECA Awards webpage.