Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Thomas R. Burkholder
Number of Pages
On Inaugural Day, President George W. Bush faced an unusually hostile audience. To reunite the nation, President Bush reached back to Americans' fundamental archetypal images, featuring the American founding myth. However, this reunification process was not complete until his speeches of September 14 and 20, 2001. Through his rhetorical transformation of worldwide terrorism into Evil, Bush reconstructed a broadly accepted image of America as Good and concurrently legitimated his ascendancy to the Presidency. However, myth also serves a less benign purpose of subtly promoting narrower ideology disguised as cultural tradition. Through analysis of Bush's three major speeches of 2001, this critique demonstrates how a seriously fractured audience can be rhetorically reconstructed, while simultaneously suggesting how rhetors may co-opt mythic images to covertly espouse a more narrow political agenda. Finally, it offers a method of extracting ideology and motive from those images in order to more fully examine and debate them.
American; George Bush; Myth; National; President; Reconstruction; Rhetorical Unity
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Belk, William Edward, "The myth of national unity: President George W Bush's rhetorical reconstruction of America" (2001). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 1347.