Rhetoric as Currency: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Great Depression / Edition 1

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Overview

Hoover, the president of economic depression; Roosevelt, the president of recovery—the public images of these two men are so firmly fixed that they offer shorthand ways to talk about the era known as the Great Depression. Yet their views on the policy needed to catapult the country out of its greatest economic calamity were not as different as often supposed.

Indeed, famed journalist Walter Lippmann once claimed that Roosevelt's legislative measures represented "a continuous evolution of the Hoover measures." Moreover, both Hoover and Roosevelt believed public confidence was vital to recovery. They differed markedly, of course, in their ability to restore that confidence.

In Rhetoric as Currency, Houck uses the historical context of the Great Depression to explore the relationship of rhetoric to the economy and economic recovery. This longitudinal study allows him to understand rhetoric as a process rather than a series of isolated, discrete products.

Houck begins with Hoover, to whom the Depression was a foe to be vanquished by an optimistic Christian and civic faith, not federal legislation. Once he determined that federal intervention was indeed required, he could not return to the dais; rather, he relied on an antagonistic press to carry his message of confidence. Abdicating the rhetorical pulpit, he left it in the hands of those opposed to him.

Houck then studies the economic rhetoric of Franklin Roosevelt as governor, candidate, president-elect, and finally president. He traces the key similarities and differences in Roosevelt's economic rhetoric with particular attention to an embodied economics, wherein recovery depended less on mental optimism than a physical, active confidence.

About the Author:
Davis W. Houck, who received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, is an assistant professor of communication at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Davis W. Houck, who received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, is an assistant professor of communication at Florida State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 "Talk is Cheap": Herbert Hoover Responds to the Great Depression 17
3 Recontextualizing the Depression War: Christianity, Confidence, and Silence 54
4 "A Satisfactory Embodiment": FDR's "Run" for the Nomination 94
5 Making House Calls: Health, Sickness, and the "Body" Economic 139
6 Rhetoric, Silence, and the "Scene" of War: The Interregnum and the First 100 Days 168
7 Serendip 195
Bibliography 205
Index 221
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