SECOND TERMS, FIRST IMPRESSIONS: A COMPARISON OF PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL ADDRESSES BY RONALD REAGAN AND GEORGE W. BUSH
Moore, Leah B
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis is a rhetorical analysis of the second inaugural addresses of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. A comparison analysis was conducted to understand the perceived similarities and differences between the second inaugural addresses in order to determine if George W. Bush was attempting to craft his address after Ronald Reagan’s address to increase his presidential persona and rhetorical credibility with the various audiences. Further, the comparison analysis was conducted to understand the impact presidential rhetoric can hold and the influential abilities of the audience. This research was conducted using the Inaugural Address Genre Theory by Campbell and Jamieson (2008) to analyze the second inaugural addresses to demonstrate how they utilized the theory and the subsequent themes. The second inaugurals were analyzed for language elements to uncover more similarities and differences. An audience response analysis was also included. The results indicate that the theory links to the themes and language elements to conclude that Reagan and Bush share two themes and minor similarities in language elements. However, the results overwhelmingly indicate that Bush did not gain rhetorical credibility through perceived similarities with Reagan’s second inaugural address. The importance of this research highlights the need to further understand presidential rhetoric, the inaugural address genre, and impact of audience perception.