He kept us out of war: narrative of Woodrow Wilson's war rhetoric, 1916-1918

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University of Alabama Libraries

Woodrow Wilson is a storied figure in the literature of rhetorical scholarship, as he stands as one of the first practitioners of the Rhetorical Presidency. Through his ability to speak directly through the people and circumvent the power of the United States Congress to a large extent, Wilson was able to bring the country to the support of a war that many of them disagreed with. He did this largely through the ideograph of exceptionalism, reminding the United States citizenry that theirs was a history blessed by God to go forth and prosper. His ability to use the rhetoric affectively directly led to his ability to garner support for the war. Further analysis of Wilson's speeches is required so as to better understand his overall use of the ideograph of exceptionalism throughout his entire presidency. By analyzing a larger body of discourse, it will soon become apparent whether he used the ideograph for other purposes. Future studies can also test parallels between past and future discourse, and look to drawn lines of similarities throughout the decades.

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Communication, History