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Popular Leadership in the Presidency

Origins and Practice

Karen S. Hoffman

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft


Most research on the president's relationship with the public focuses on modern presidents because they frequently give speeches in the attempt to build public support for their policy goals. Expanding the concept of presidential communication beyond policy speeches, Popular Leadership in the Presidency: Origins and Practice reveals the extent to which presidents have always communicated with the public. And it is not simply the existence of public communication that is significant, but the fact that structural elements of the presidency encourage a connection with the people. The fact that the executive consists of one individual, the symbolic authority that devolves on the president as the sole national leader, and a selection process that in practice turned out to be popular all encourages a relationship with the people. An examination of the first four presidents demonstrates the broad range of public persuasion practiced by early presidents as well as the way in which the structural encourages that behavior.