chapter  5
10 Pages

The Idea of an Un-Rhetorical Presidency

WithBryan Garsten

Today, when a president addresses the people directly in a speech or a news conference, we do not regard it as unusual. We expect presidents to try to convince us to support their policies, and we evaluate their rhetoric by how successfully they inspire, mobilize, and persuade us. In

The Rhetorical Presidency

, Jeffrey Tulis argues that this way of regarding our presidents is relatively new-no older than the Progressive era of the early twentieth century-and is, in fact, almost exactly what the early theory and practice of American constitutionalism had aimed to avoid.