The Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama

The Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama

by Richard W. Leeman


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The Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama, by Richard Leeman, provides an in-depth analysis of President Barack Obama’s speeches and writings to explain the power of the 44th president's speaking. This book argues that, from his earliest writings through his latest presidential speeches, Obama has described the world through a teleological lens.

Teleology is the philosophy of discovering in the essential nature of humans or countries the telos, or ideal, towards which one should progress. Obama consistently portrays freedom and equality as essential to human nature and the American spirit. Understanding his discourse as teleological helps explain the inspirational and philosophical nature of his rhetoric, as well as his famous patience, perceiving progress where others become frustrated. Teleological discourse is ancient, with its roots in philosophies such as Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Christian theology, and its handprints evident in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. In order to discover the roots of Obama's teleological perspective, Leeman also examines the speeches of presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, as well as the civil rights discourse of Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Although the roots of his teleological discourse run deep, President Obama's particular use of the philosophy is very modern. The Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama is an essential contribution to the study of American politics and political rhetoric.

Watch the author discuss the book here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739174081
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 05/11/2012
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Leeman is professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Teleological Discourse
Chapter 2. The Pre-Presidential Discourse of Barack Obama
Chapter 3. The Presidential Discourse of Barack Obama
Chapter 4. Presidential Rhetoric and Teleological Discourse
Chapter 5. Teleological Discourse and the Rhetoric of Civil Rights
Chapter 6. Barack Obama, Teleological Discourse and the American Polity

What People are Saying About This

Craig Allen Smith

Richard Leeman has written a careful analysis of Barack Obama's rhetoric that provides important insights into the man, his values, and his vision for America.

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