Make no exception, save one: American exceptionalism, the American presidency, and the age of Obama

Jason Gilmore, Penelope Sheets, Charles Rowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores the circumstances under which U.S. presidents have invoked American exceptionalism in major speeches and how this concept has culminated in the Obama presidency. We find that U.S. presidents have increased their invocations of American exceptionalism since the Second World War and that they have relied heavily on this concept in times of national crises. Moreover, we demonstrate the overwhelming propensity of President Obama, relative to his predecessors, to emphasize American exceptionalism. We argue that this is due to the double-crisis nature of his presidency – two major wars and a recession – in addition to the racial bind that he has endured throughout his presidency. We reflect on the implications for other minority politicians and the broader American public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-520
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume83
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • American exceptionalism
  • Barack Obama
  • Presidential discourse
  • challenges to patriotism
  • national crisis
  • national identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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