Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version


Publication Source

The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies




This chapter argues that the public’s understanding of the US presidency is shaped in part by the rhetorical genres that have been conventionalized by this institution, including the inaugural address, the State of the Union address, veto messages, the de facto line item veto, pardon messages, impeachment rhetoric, war rhetoric, rhetoric responding to crisis, national eulogies, and farewells. These genres of presidential rhetoric can be clustered into three broad categories, depending on the degree of freedom with which the president acts: those in which the president acts unilaterally; genres that take exception, invite cooperation with the legislative branch, or assert the right of the executive to act in domains in which the Constitution gives another branch specific powers; and those in which the Congress has greater control over the rhetorical situation than does the president.

Copyright/Permission Statement

“Rhetoric and Presidential Politics” by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell in The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies edited by Michael John MacDonald, 2017, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.


rhetorical genre, presidential rhetoric, rhetorical situation, inaugural address, war rhetoric, State of the Union address, national eulogies, impeachment rhetoric



Date Posted: 12 July 2019