The Practical Origins Of The Rhetorical Presidency

Author
Terri Bimes
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Critical Review
Volume
19
Issue Number
2
Publication Date
January 2007
Institution
Critical Review Foundation
Abstract
As readers of The Rhetorical Presidency might expect, the Framers\' remarks at the Constitutional Convention revealed a deep concern about popular political ignorance—and a desire to shield the new government from it. However, when it came to designing the presidency, the Founders seem to have been less intent on insulating sitting presidents from the mass public than on guarding the presidents\' selection itself against elite factions that might take advantage of the public\'s ignorance. The resulting constitutional structure left the actual relationship between the president and the public open-ended. In short order, even the most restrained, patrician presidents took advantage of the opportunity to invoke, and to shape, public opinion—setting the stage for Andrew Jackson\'s, and his Democratic successors\', more aggressive presidential populism.
Topic
Government