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The Anti-Intellectual PresidencyThe Decline of Presidential Rhetoric from George Washington to George W. Bush$
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Elvin T. Lim

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342642

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342642.001.0001

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Reforming the Anti-Intellectual Presidency

Reforming the Anti-Intellectual Presidency

(p.115) 7 Reforming the Anti-Intellectual Presidency
The Anti-Intellectual Presidency

Elvin T. Lim

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes a corrective account of rhetorical leadership premised on pedagogy, rather than demagogy. It also provides these tentative thoughts as an invitation to start, rather than to conclude, a new debate about the substance of presidential rhetoric rather than its quantity. Then, it closes with a solution to the problem of presidential anti-intellectualism by articulating the pedagogical purpose of rhetoric as theorized and practiced by the founding rhetorical presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt, and as implied in scholarly criticisms of the contemporary presidency. There is a need to attend to the substance of presidential rhetoric precisely because presidents are responsible for the lion's share of what transpires in the American public sphere.

Keywords:   anti-intellectual presidency, rhetorical leadership, pedagogy, presidential rhetoric, presidential anti-intellectualism, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt

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