John F. Kennedy's Civil Rights Discourse: The Evolution from “Principled Bystander” to Public Advocate
Format of Original
20 p.; 26 cm
Taylor & Francis
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1080/03637758909390259; Shelves: PN 4077 .S6 1989 v. 56, Memorial Periodicals
This essay argues that President John F. Kennedy's civil rights discourse evidences an important evolutionary pattern marking a transition from legal argument to moral argument, and highlights two speeches as exemplars of this change. Three rhetorical constraints are identified which help account for and explain this shift in the president's public rhetoric. Finally, we offer implications of this essay for the study of contemporary presidential discourse during times of domestic crisis.