Cold terror : cultural crisis creation in the rhetoric of Truman and Bush

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelly L. Edmisten (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Diana Ashe

Abstract: The war on terror has been continually compared to the Cold War, and in this thesis, I examine the speeches that mark the start of each war: Bush’s September 20, 2001, speech and the Truman Doctrine respectively. Through cultural criticism and the alignment of the texts within the genre of crisis rhetoric, I analyze the two speeches to demonstrate how they fit into the genre, as well as how they create a rhetorical consciousness of the times in which they were given. I use the analysis of values, ideographs, myths, and fantasy themes, as outlined by Roderick Hart and Suzanne Daughton, to focus my approach to cultural criticism, and each analysis is explicated in a different chapter. Each chapter reveals how the incorporation of the specific cultural criticism approach contributes to the persuasiveness and aids in the creation of consciousness and crisis in Truman and Bush’s speeches. Crisis and consciousness creation are the means by which rhetors set up their argument in order to persuade their audiences. Crisis creation creates exigence even if there is not a crisis situation and defines it if there is. Consciousness creation provides the rhetorical vision for the audience to interpret and respond to a given situation. In order to explicate the creation of consciousness, I apply Ernest Bormann, John Cragan, and Donald Shields’s theory on symbolic convergence theory and the Cold War, and for crisis creation, I apply the three elements of the crisis rhetoric genre as outlined by Theodore Windt. Both presidents’ speeches call upon theoretic, economic, social, religious, and political values; the ideographs of freedom, democracy, justice; identity and eschatological myths; and the One World, Power Politics, and Red Fascism fantasy theme rhetorical visions to create rhetorical consciousness and crisis among the American people.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Bush George W. (George Walker) 1946-, Political oratory--United States, Truman Harry S. 1884-1972
Political oratory -- United States
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-

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