The language of American political discourse: Aristotle's rhetorical appeals as manifested in Bush's and Obama's speeches on the war on terror
This article employs critical discourse analysis to analyze the representation of the “war on terror” in the political speeches of Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama in the decade following 9/11; it examines Aristotle's approach into the study of the language of persuasion through his three main rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos, identifying several strands of the war on terror discourse and analyzing the way they influence the persuasiveness of the speeches and therefore the ability to generate public debate. The findings show substantial similarities in representation patterns among the two presidents' discourses and end up to the conclusion that the language of the war on terror is not simply a neutral or objective reflection of policy debates of terrorism and counterterrorism; rather, it is a carefully and deliberately constructed public discourse designed to make the war on terror look reasonable and morally justified.
Andersson, I. (2005). American political rhetoric: a study of selected speeches by George W. Bush.
Atkinson, M. (1984). Our masters' voices: The language and body language of politics. Psychology Press.
Bush, G. W. (2001). Address to the Joint Session of the 107th Congress. Selected Speeches of President George W. Bush, 2008.
Bush, G. W. (2003). Bush Declares War against Iraq. White House, Oval Office, Thursday, March 19th.
Bush, L. (2001). Radio Address by Mrs. Bush, Crawford, Texas. White House Archives, 17.
Charteris-Black, Jonathan (2005). Politicians and Rhetoric: the Persuasive Power of Metaphor. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
De Cillia, R., Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (1999). The discursive construction of national identities. Discourse & society, 10(2), 149-173.
Dryzek, J. S. (2010). Rhetoric in democracy: A systemic appreciation. Political theory, 38(3), 319-339. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0090591709359596
Fairclough, N. (1995). (1995b) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. London: Longman.
Obama, B. (2008). Obama’s Speech on Race. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Constitution Centre, March 18th.
Obama, B. (2009). A New Beginning. Washington DC, White House, June 4th.
Obama, B. (2009). Obama Announces New Afghanistan. Pakistan Strategies, March 27th.
Obama, B. (2009). Obama’s Inaugural Address. The Capitol Building, January 20th.
Obama, B. (2014). On United States Strategy to Combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Terrorist Organization (ISIL). Washington DC, White House, September 10th.
Van Dijk, T. A. (1984). Prejudice in discourse: An analysis of ethnic prejudice in cognition and conversation. John Benjamins Publishing.
Weiss, G., & Wodak, R. (2003). Introduction: Theory, interdisciplinarity and critical discourse analysis. In Critical discourse analysis (pp. 1-32). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Wodak, R. (2004). Critical Discourse Analysis. Qualitative Research Practice, Clive Seale, etal. (Eds). London: Sage Publications.
Copyright (c) 2020 International journal of linguistics, literature and culture
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Articles published in the International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture (IJLLC) are available under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Authors retain copyright in their work and grant IJLLC right of first publication under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in this journal, and to use them for any other lawful purpose.
Articles published in IJLLC can be copied, communicated and shared in their published form for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given to the author and the journal. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.
This copyright notice applies to articles published in IJLLC volumes 6 onwards. Please read about the copyright notices for previous volumes under Journal History.