Cooper, Kody W.; McCluskey, Michael R.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Populist language is a common rhetorical practice of United States Presidents. There is a breadth of literature on the study of populism and populist language, yet few studies identify populist language as reimagining the relationship between president and people. This paper identifies populist language as a political tactic of presidents and links the tactic’s use to the cultivation of authority and legitimacy. A central theoretical foundation of this paper rests on Skowronek’s concept of political time and authority structures. Through the use of four case studies spanning the presidencies of Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump, this paper evaluates populist rhetoric in the context of providing political agency to navigating the pressures of the political authority cycle and capitalizing on mass communication technology as a vehicle for reach and connectivity. This study identifies both a recurrent and emergent pattern of populist rhetoric in an across-case analysis. Furthermore, the findings of this research suggest a greater reliance on the public presidency and raise concerns as to how populist politics can shape and alter the presidency, presidential expectations, and American democracy.
B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.
Rhetoric -- Political aspects; Populism -- United States; Presidents -- United States
American Politics | Rhetoric
[i], 53 leaves
Sobo, Brooke, "Presidents and populist politics" (2021). Honors Theses.