chapter  1
16 Pages

The Practical Origins of the Rhetorical Presidency

WithTerri Bimes

The Founders’ constitution, in Tulis’s view, provided the theoretical basis of presidential practice stretching from George Washington to William McKinley. Presidents were to avoid rhetoric meant to appeal to the masses on matters of public policy. Presidents were therefore, at first,

“public” figures mainly in the sense of making ceremonial speeches, producing inaugural addresses, and submitting annual messages to Congress; but they were not “popular” leaders (Ceaser et al.