Rhetoric in Modern Day Proceedings the Topic Term Paper

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rhetoric in modern day proceedings, the topic will reflect the modern day influence that rhetoric has on governmental processes from decision making to laws that are passed in Congress.

The paper shall deal with the importance of rhetoric in modern day proceedings, with its influence on governmental processes from decision making by Presidents to that of the Congress, The paper shall argue that rhetoric is far moved away from reality.

The terminology 'rhetoric' traces its origin in different periods of time in its different interpretations. Its different interpretations at different times led people to seek its origin in many ways and in varied histories. At times it is used disparagingly as oral out bursting of radicals; at other times it is generalized as a public speech. Traditionally, it is also seen to be used to indicate a branch of study relating to speech. People are also seen to use the term 'rhetoric' as philosophical advocacy for the validity of knowledge and critical topics concerning the public policy. (A Short and Highly Idiosyncratic History of Rhetoric)


Over the years American speakers depended upon two basic postulates of delivering their opinions in terms of theoretical generalizations and realistic views. Their idealistic views in the opinion of Richard Weaver concentrates on generalizations laid down based on a specific group of things. The application of the idealistic viewpoints according to him denotes to application of an established principle being put forth over a relevant item. To illustrate, first the policy makers strive to take the assumption of children being crucial to the future society and take this assumption as the basis in formulation of the government policies with regard to the provision of food, shelter, medical and educational needs of the children. The idealistic speakers not only emphasize the idealistic principles in bringing forth their view points over a particular subject, but also impose the audience to adhere to these principles. (Bostdorff; Goldzwig, p.515)

The realistic speeches contrary to this strives for establishing the ideas in terms of consequential argumentation finding out different roots and subsequent results. The realistic speakers according to Kenneth Burke strives to assess a principle in terms of its results and emphasizes on the benefits that it provides; the radical changes that it will bring along, its essential tasks that it performs, or in terms of its agreeable operation. According to Red Hart the dichotomy of idealism and the pragmatism continue to exist in the speeches of Americans even in the current era and the American leaders are seen to have resorted to smooth intermingling of both. Carroll Arnold adding doctrinal approach to the agreeable public speeches viewed them as the synthesis of idealism and pragmatism in an anti-philosophical manner. (Bostdorff; Goldzwig, p.515)

According to Arnold due emphasis on any one of them, remarkably marks failure of the speakers. Cecil Crabb, reveals in his American Diplomacy and the Pragmatic Tradition that the striking equilibrium between the idealism and realism plays a pivotal role in the discourses concerning foreign policies. According to Crabb the diplomatic policy of America is fundamentally realistic. However, it is essential in the case of the leaders to quote the ideological principles in order to back up their policies. According to him the diplomatic policies and powers in the arena of foreign policy must be exercised by America relating reference to some of the universal objectives of mankind taken for granted by its citizens. Failure to comply with this according to him will definitely call upon the success of the policies. (Bostdorff; Goldzwig, p.515)

The radical transition of the office of the president at the dawn of the Twentieth Century from a conventional, administrative and confidential one to contemporary, costly, extensive open and rhetorical one has attracted the attention of the political scientists signifying the sitting leaders resorting to scheduled political discourses in the Congress as well as in public to exhibit their leadership quality and forced governance. A sense of stability in its interpretation in the concept is noticed more than a frequent change. Indication of a harmonious value system is seen in the speeches of the presidents by Smith and Smith while Campbell and Jamieson emphasized on harmonious transition or stability of the introductory speech. The symbolic homogeneity in Presidential discourses was noticed by Hinckley. According to Fields the public speeches of the president is the main constituent of presidential office. Up to the time of Herbert Hoover the presidential speeches mainly were hovering around the empirical success stories, alertness of the Government and its unconsciousness, homogeneity and heterogeneity, generalization and indicative, existence or non-existence, which seems to have deteriorated since then. Indications towards official terminology, legal interpretations, instruments of governance, etc. In the speeches of president have declined since William Howard Taft. (Lim, Five Trends in Presidential Rhetoric)

The touch of cause and effect analysis and derivation of generalizations there from in presidential speeches has declined after Theodore Roosevelt. Ecclesiastical terminologies seem to have avoided in the speeches during the nineteenth century began to find place incrementally during the twentieth century. To illustrate, devotional incantations were being increasingly resorted to during the twentieth century, especially during the period of Reagan. The contemporary presidential discourses have embodied a religious touch in greater magnitude and so also become more rhythmical in relation to time, space and nature. Since the time of Herbert Hoover, the presidential speeches are more verbose with optimistic and supercilious terminologies. Emphasis on key issues and key terminologies has begun to be included since the 106th Annual Message of Theodore Roosevelt. It is said to be more aggressive day by day and becoming an instrument for campaigning, pragmatic and self-assertive. Presently, it involves the public policy in relation to competition, objectives and reorganization. (Lim, Five Trends in Presidential Rhetoric)

Demonstration of aggressive verbose and male chauvinism is quite old in politics. The inherent characteristics of speeches of the presidents Harry Truman to Lyndon Johnson is described in terms of frank and crude expressions, even if not in open. The Democrats like Rep. Dick assailed the verbose and male chauvinistic discourses of the presidents in terms of its invulnerability to the contemporary politics. The widely used phrase 'Bring it on' by the presidents, traces its origin to the speeches of Sen. John Edwards for refuting the attacks of GOP in his age old style of defending advocate. The success of Gov. Howard Dean is seen to a great extent in his frank and attacking verbose arguments. All these harsh languages have been put forth as a conclusion to the political rivalries through out the decade. While the Republicans were snatching the Southern representations from Democrats, the GOP being epitomized by the bankers and accountants were beginning to portray in accordance with Arnold Schwarzenegger and stock market competition. (Marlantes, More John Wayne rhetoric infuses politics)

Democrats also while trying to tighten their grip in the region advocated male chauvinism, as Sen. Bob Graham presently are backing a NASCAR truck, to illustrate. The devastating effects of September 11 incident and Iraq War, said to be more intensive than any war that history ever records have added opportunities for venting the emotional outbreaks for national awakening in the following telecasts. Allen Metcalf of the English Department of Mac Murray College, presently authoring a book on how to talk like a president deduces from the speeches of presidents, the predominating influence of the pop culture in the American way. The influence of pop culture is so predominant in the American life that in present days that the use of such terminologies once awakening the American to revolt against their leaders are now giving rise to support them in terms of seriousness and toughness. (Marlantes, More John Wayne rhetoric infuses politics)

In the recent discourses, the citations of chance and luck have remarkably been avoided. Over the course of time citations of leaders, personalities and democracy are being used increasingly. The present day presidential discourses are being seen as a clear departure from the Republican model, emphasizing more on democratic principles, respecting the citizens rather than the Congress. To illustrate, the stress on democracy has been so remarkable in the presidential speeches that during the twentieth century the terminology was used 189 times in comparison to only twice in the annual messages prior to that. References to the infants and adolescents out of the use of terms like kinships ever since the periods of Franklin Roosevelt and more popularly during Jimmy Carter has been finding place increasingly in the speeches. The leadership qualities of the presidents were portrayed by themselves as guardian of the citizen security. (Lim, Five Trends in Presidential Rhetoric)

Their discourses also display exaggerations of their position in the administration and as the pioneer spokesman of the nation. The sympathetic and emotional touch in the speeches of the presidents has been seen ever since the Civil War and more particularly during the last three decades, signifying a transition of the relationship of the presidents with public as an administrative head to a companion.…

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