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Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Johnson Erin Kerr, Shaney Soderquist and Alex Weisner.

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1 Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Johnson Erin Kerr, Shaney Soderquist and Alex Weisner

2 “The Circle of Our Felicities”: Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address and the Rhetoric of Nationhood Stephen Howard Browne

3 Rhetorical Contexts Democracy and Persuasion are interlocked Unprecedented expansion of the spaces of political action Jefferson’s inaugural (like his politics) = both forward-looking and indebted to certain rhetorical traditions Used rhetoric to rededicate common values and mutual commitment to each other’s fortunes

4 Three Conventions of Public Discourse 1.) Religious 2.) Civic 3.) Political Shaped the 1 st Inaugural Address, its reception, and its legacy.

5 Religious Contexts Adamant not to have religious convictions impose or intrude into the affairs of state Defined Americans: Religious (often, definitively) without uniformity of faith; Singular; The “American Mind” America as a chosen people – John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill”

6 Civic Commemoration Bring history to the national present Jefferson faced an audience well-positioned to recognize the Inaugural for what it was and what it hoped to accomplish. Precedents of “Political Theater”: – Local in delivery and source – Reaching out to the nation as a whole – About political life, but not overly partisan Disseminate the experience of citizenship

7 Political Debate Paradoxical performance Appeal to “American” principles, rather than party principles Jefferson was the one to realize the potential inherent to the inaugural form

8 Jeffersonian Style Transcribed his consummate optimism into the American spirit Form + Content = Singular, lasting image of the man Compared to “well-drawn portraits, which regard and follow us with their eyes in whatever direction we move.” First-person pronoun usage – Strategic Symmetry in politics and rhetoric Propriety and Simplicity

9 The First Inaugural’s Achievements Presented a partisan tract and a political treatise, without announcing itself as either Precedent: Encourage, reduce uncertainty, urge to continue on the path towards a prosperous future Summon fellow republicans to a better version of themselves

10 Jefferson vs. Napoleon: The Limits of Rhetoric Lawrence S. Kaplan

11 Beginnings 1808 William Cullen Bryant identified Jefferson as “Napoleon’s slave” Napoleon had an enormous impact on Jefferson’s presidency Jefferson’s main goal was to turn the superpowers of France and Britain against each other Triangular relationship

12 Territory Strategy Spain – Louisiana Britain—found a rough path across America France—conspiring with the Spanish for control of the Mississippi

13 Foreign Affairs War was not the answer in dealing with France Jefferson faced the Federalist motto of “Political connections with none” as he entered office “Just a difference of opinion, not of principal” Was this a genuine promotion of partisanship? Was he trying to pursue his Republican objectives?

14 Treaty of Entaglement Louisiana cession Jefferson tried to avoid talking about Louisiana “Another year has come around, and finds us still blessed with peace and friendship abroad”

15 French-American Agreement Persuasion/intimidation of Napoleon British ships blocked key ports, nullifying trade acts Napoleon succeeds Jefferson succeeds

16 Jefferson’s Other Bradford Vivian

17 Background Rumors of an affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Widespread interest in the possibility of an affair between Jefferson and his slave in the 20th century Winthrop Jordan’s White over black: American Attitudes toward the Negro was the first story to discuss the affair Public memory of Jefferson became foreign with the growing story of Hemings

18 Two Attempts to Prove Affair Annette Gordon-Reed’s Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy – Social, political, and institutional biases had prevented getting to the truth – Argued historians had failed to apply standards consistently and fairly to the affair examination Eugene A. Foster did a study comparing DNA samples from Jefferson and Hemings – They used a haplotype containing 19 polymorphic markers taken from decendents of Field Jefferson (uncle), The haplotype matched Eston Heming to the male-line of descendants – Less than 1% chance for this match, most compelling evidence presented in debate

19 Jaques Derrida and the “pathos of indecision” Actively provokes a response because it stimulates crisis over standards and procedures Gordon-Reed’s application of forensic standards was a “political intervention: and an “ethical judgment” that weighed all evidence equitable Ethos of Foster and his colleagues’ genetic tests were very persuasive in the “undecidability” of the debate Public view, still undecided

20 New Stories and Different Voices The concept of Romance 1995 Film- Jefferson in Paris, displays Jefferson and Hemings’ relationship as a Parisian romance – Portrays Sally as a teenager who develops into womanhood – The concept of Jefferson and a young, exotic beauty  very appealing to public – These accounts invoke the pathos of romance, used to portray the courtly love of an idealized president Barbara Chase-Riboud’s 1979 novel Sally Hemings – portraying Sally as a multidimensional character

21 Romance Continued on CBS CBS (2000)—Sally Hemings: An American Scandal The tale conjures a sympathetic version of Jefferson struggling against the institution of slavery for the sake of love Rhetorical functions of a romantic narrative  portraying Hemings as a heroic figure sacrificing her freedom for that of her children

22 The Demon in Jefferson Steve Erickson’s 1993 novel Arc d’X Motivated by a desire to bring Jefferson’s unconscious into the light of the 20 th century, proving the demon people imagine must have lived in him somewhere A Jefferson lusting after a teenager, both of whom was his slave and his late wife’s half sister whom he would enslave again by molesting her Produces an unadultered encounter with Jefferson’s other: the private demon within the civic saint Represents a metaphor of America Suggesting that the pursuit of happiness for one political body is conducted through the sacrifice of another’s self- determination

23 In Summary The rhetoric of public memory often comes into being as the manifestation of a desire to enlarge our frequently shallow and elliptical knowledge of the past The appeal of Jefferson’s secret past becomes a desire to us in the present Jefferson has acquired such a foreign quality that the way we tend to remember him is by his other: by the ghost of Sally Hemings or the ghosts of his own passions

24 Politics of Character: Andrew Johnson Stephen Howard Browne

25 Background to Article 17 th president First president to be impeached First president to succeed the presidency upon assassination of predecessor (Lincoln)

26 Stephen Howard Browne Unlovable character ill-suited in almost every possible way Worst presidents to date There are three attributes (mind, character, and speech) which set a standard to mark and evaluate presidential virtue, but all work against Johnson

27 March 11, 1865 Johnson’s Vice-Presidential Inaugural Address All accounts claim Johnson was drunk for speech Three main traits for his speech: – The use of pronominal and possessive first person – Speaker’s insistence that he is a legitimate claimant to the office he now occupies – The compulsive need to invoke “the people” as the ultimate source of power the final check against party pressures

28 Self-Regard and the Presidential Ethos Lincoln and Johnson Johnson was unable to rise to his position  Example of September 12 th Speech The speech was not just policy arguments, but strenuous protestations of innocence, appeals to his personal past, and allusions to his Christlike mission to save his country from the satanic designs of his opponents-

29 Orator In earlier days very good at captivating large audiences Able to identify with people in simple and powerful language The willingness and honestly is what also mortified northerners It was his way of engaging audiences and disputing his character that prompted so much criticism

30 February 22, 1866, Speech on White House Balcony on Washington’s Birthday Demonstrating distance from Lincoln in popular imagination Hadn’t prepared anything, very clear  focused on the profusion of self-references, the demands for respect, the appeals to the people Traitors and treason in the South- those still opposed to the restoration of the states, Publicly identified and charge other senators, prominent national reformer, with treason

31 Two main personality traits Obstinate Inconsistent Willful to the point of abject stubbornness Weak in the face of flattery Intransigent when he needed to compromise, but unable to hold a promise Johnson never acknowledged this, but many listeners heard it and that is what wrecked him

32 Summary Johnson went against his own professions and melted into the arms of the South Once a plebian he had arrived in a place where he was in charge and it was satisfying to spend the bounty of power on those who had forsaken him Everything melted away with his vision of becoming a Southern Gentleman

33 Discussion What is the president’s job? How does Jefferson define his role as President? How does he define the people’s role? What does his era teach us about our era? Why do we care?


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