tv Lectures in History Presidential Speeches CSPAN December 30, 2021 4:20am-5:30am EST
to cable and internet. >> okay. welcome to our discussion of presidential speeches through history, and first point i want to make is that for the first century and change of american history, presidents didn't give all that many speeches. we have president washington's farewell address which was ghost written, okay? who ghost wrote it? hamilton, of course. and if you saw the play, there's the famous song one last time. people call it an address. washington never gave it as a speech. washington never gave that address as a speech.
it was all this -- in writing. presidents gave inaugural addresses. occasionally gave speeches on other occasions. but if they communicated with the public, it was generally in writings. sometimes official presidential messages, sometimes unofficial political communication through proxies. political allies would puppet out material -- put out material supporting their political position. that happened quite a bit in the 19th century. why was this? because the mediums were different. there was an expectation that presidents shouldn't give a lot of speeches, shouldn't try to be demagogic. by now you've read the federalist papers, you know the founders were very concerned about the danger of demagogues x presidents were aware of this
more. even know in private they tried to mold public opinion, they were concerned about their public image and their public behavior. technology just didn't allow for the president's voice to reach that many people. 19th century no radio, no tv. the first decades of the century, no telegraph. and travel was difficult. you know, it's not as if presidents could get on air force one and that afternoon visit the farthest reaches of the world. didn't happen that way. it was difficult. now, the middle of the 19th century you had the development of the telegraph, you had rail systems in lace. you also had another underappreciated bit of
technology. by the time of the lincoln/douglass debates, you had systematized shorthand which is why we have a really good stenographic record of the lincoln/douglass is debates or, to be more precise, multiple stenographic records, and some historian toes have noted slight differences in those records. really it was not until the 20th century that substantial numbers of people could actually hear the president's voice. if you look at the chart here, households with radio sets this 1922 -- in 1922 there were only 60,000 households in the united states that had radio sets. by 1932, the election of franklin roosevelt, that number was up to 18.4 million. there were some presidential radio addresses during the
1920s. calvin coolidge actually had a pretty good voice for radio. herbert hoover did some speaking on the radio. but really when we think about presidents and the electronic media, we're thinking about franklin d. roosevelt. and roosevelt is famous for the so-called fireside chats. an or not thing to know though -- an important thing to know about the fireside chats, a lot of people think he did them every week. no. no, no. he did them on essential occasions. there weren't as many fireside chats as people think there were. roosevelt had a really good voice for if radio, and and e understood that with the tireside chat you didn't -- fireside chat you didn't talk the same way as you did when you were to rating to a large --
orating to a large are crowd. people would get turned off way that. fdr understood that's not the way you talk on the radio. he also used radio effectively on certain special occasions. and some of his major speeches were broadcast. roosevelt gave acceptance speeches. you hay say, yeah, so? roosevelt flew to the convention in 1932 and accepted the nomination this person which was something people just didn't do this those days. wow, this is something special n. 1936 he gave an acceptance speech again. really the speeches would not if
>> senators and representatives, i have the distinguished honor of presenting the president of the united states. [applause] >> vice president, mr. speaker, members of the senate and the house of representatives, yesterday, december 7th,1941, a date which will live in infamy. united states of america was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of japan. the united states was at peace with that nation, and at
solicitation of japan still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the pacific. in-- >> it went on like that for a while, but one thing i notice when franklin delano roosevelt was giving the speech, he gestured with his head. there was a very simple reason for that. franklin roosevelt needed leg braces to stand. he had survived polio and could not walk. he needed to hold the podium just to maintain his position. if he let go, he could fall. i mentioned the 1936 democratic convention. he actually fell.
and the pages fell out of order which created a difficult situation for him, and he was able to improvise. and so that was a bit of a limitation on his ability to gesture to an audience. now, in this particular speech he told americans what had just happened, the attack on pearl harbor. but he has details that americans are just very recently learning. so we go ahead here in the speech. >> yesterday the japanese government also launched attacks against malaya. last night japanese forces attacked hong kong. last night japanese forces attacked guam. last night japanese forces
attacked the philippine islands. last night the japanese attacked -- [inaudible] island. and this morning the japanese attacked midway island. japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise to tense -- offensive, extending throughout the pacific area. >> okay. so what we see here is that roosevelt was trying to convey the enormity of what had just happened. it was not simply an attack on one military base in pearl harbor, but part of a massive offensive in the pacific. he wanted to rally public if support for a declaration of war. and he got it. he got the almost unanimous support of congress with one
exception. jeanette rankin, who by pure coincidence had also voted against the declaration of war in the first world war. she served three nonconsecutive terms in congress, and both time thes her claim to fame was that she had voted against the declaration of war. the presidential speech writing function gradually increases in art because presidents become more mobile. during the 1950s president eisenhower begins making greater use of what we would today call air force one. he originally called it the columbine. and at times eisenhower, who had gotten a pilot's license, would
actually take the controls. sometimes he actually flew the plane. he was extremely competent the guy. so eisenhower did do some traveling, made some speeches around the country, even did some television. one thing he didn't do though in the 1950s was live press conferences. the pressure from the press for him to do live press conferences, and he was resistant to that because he thought that he might inadvertently reveal national security information. now, you may wonder why was he so paranoid and sensitive about national security information. well, he had been the commander of american forces this in world war ii! and when you go toe to toe with hitler, you kind of get sensitive about those things. but he did end up having recorded press conferences x they worked rate well. and he was good at them. we don't think of eisenhower as
a great orator or somebody who was particularly an expert this domestic policy, but the guy read his briefing book, he knew his stuff, ask he did well in the press conference. the big innovation in television came, and jfk did have live press conferences. this was a format that was particularly good for jfk. number one, he got the reporters. he understood them culturally. he had briefly, in fact, been a reporter himself. after he got out of the navy in the second world war. he didn't need the money, obviously, but he wanted to be able to say that he had had a civilian job, so his father arranged him a reporting gig. he understood the press. he understood how to handle himself this a press are conference. he was very good at it. and in -- he came across well on
tv in part as we talk more about this, we get into debates, ironically because of the medication he was taking. if you look at the pictures of jfk in the early 1950s, he looks kind of sickly. by 1960s he looks much better because he was taking cortisone which sometimes has the unfortunate effect of distorting people's features, but jfk was so thin, it actually filled him out and made him look good. and his health was not in the west of shape during his presidency. his problems were much worse than the general public knew at the time, but he came across extremely well on television. gave important speeches. 1962 revealing the president's president's -- the presence of soviet missiles in cuba. and during the 1960s and a topic we're going to come back to is the state of the union.
during the 1960s presidents started giving the state of the union address at night. previously, they did it during the day. in fact, during the 19th century they didn't give a speech at all. they sent a message to congress. this was part of the norm that i mentioned earlier that presidents should communicate in writing and that they should be careful about demagogic appeals to public opinion. so throughout most of the 19th century, the state of the union addresses were written documents, not oral presentations. well, woodrow wilson had a very different concept of the presidency. he renewed the idea of giving a state of the union speech in person, and other presidents took the mantel. but still, for the 1930s, '40s, '50s the state of the union was a speech, really it's
to congress. starting with lbj, it became sort of a television extravaganza with a studio audience which is really what the congress does now in the state of the union. it's an address to the people and congress just happens to be there to applaud. and we'll see a state of the union in just a few minutes. as television advanced throughout the '60s and '70s, richard nixon -- not generally known as a master of television -- put a lot of emphasis on his public if communications, and his speeches, actually if you read them, were pretty good except during watergate, during his other public appearances he was not in the best of form. i am not a crook. that just didn't go over very
well. but one president i want to focus on a little bit because we associate him with the presidentially is ronald reagan. reagan, as everybody knows, spent most of his career as an actor. he knew a lot about lighting, about sound, about how to carry himself. you know, he used to say, well, it's different when with you know how you look from behind. and he did, he had this acute awareness of how he was coming across on the screen. and his critics accused him of being superficial. now, when you read the speech, you can decide that for yourself. but reagan, to an extent that
people at the time didn't realize did a fair amount of his own writing. during the 1970s he gave radio addresses that, for the most part, he wrote himself. and we know this for sure because we have the manuscripts in his handwriting. so the guy knew how to put together a sentence. he wasn't a great literary figure, but he could write sentences and paragraphs which is not necessarily true of all presidents. in the speech i asked you to look at was his 1983 speech to the national association of evangelicals. and he did express his views on the soviet union which we will talk about in a minute. you had a chance to look at the script of the speech. but the thing that i gather kind of surprised you was that it was
not about the soviet union exclusively. in fact, the soviet union came as sort of the last item in the list of things that he was talking about. this illustrates a point that we're discussing in the course, and that's the role of religion this american politics. -- in american politics. he was talking to the national association of evangelicals, and his agenda item was to get them involved with politics. and specifically, get them involved this politics on the side of the causes that he preferred. now, you may wonder, huh? why does anybody have to convince evangelicals that they should be involved in politics? i mean, why? remember, this is 1983. for a long time, american
evangelicals had been hesitant to get involved in politics. reagan was trying to engage them. he was trying to engage them by talking very directly about religion. and an issue that he emphasized throughout the first part of the speech p of course, was abortion. we tend to think it's very contentious issue, but it's been a contentious issue for decades. and here it's also important to remember that evangelicals were not in the forefront of opposition to abortion in the 1970s. the catholic church was. the evangelicals were slower to get involved in that movement, and reagan was trying to mobilize them in that election. he was talking more broadly about the role of religion in
politics, and he even used the fake quotation. as you know from this class -- wrote that america is great because america is good. but he wanted to do that, and the speech writer told him, by the way, who was catholic, but he wrote the speech for evangelicals, and it included this quotation from alexis de tocqueville. and one of the advantages of reading the type script is you can see how reagan tweaked the quotation. he didn't like the exact wording, so he added the -- [inaudible] with righteousness. and so reagan had heard about the quotation before, and he just applied his own version to it.
and if you want to see him using that line -- and also in the context of the speech, here is a clip. >> -- the american experiment in democracy rests on this insight. its discovery was the great triumph of our founding fathers first by william penn when he said we will not be gutted by guns, we -- governed by guns, we must be governed by tyrants. jefferson said the god who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. that was george washington who was said that of all the dispositions that happens which lead to political prosperity, religion and normality are indispensable supports. and if finally, that truest of
all observes of american democracy, alexis de tocqueville said not until i went into the churches of america -- [inaudible] flame of righteousness did i understand the greatness and the genius of america. america is good. and if america never ceases to be good, america will cease to -- [inaudible] so i'm pleased -- [applause] >> and then, you know, tocqueville never said think such thing. -- any such thing. and you can see the whole type script there. i hope you've had a chance to look at it. and you can just see here how deeply engaged reagan was in the
drafting of this speech. in fact, there are whole sections right here that are in his own handwriting. very actively engaged in speeches at the time. mind you, if you go to the reagan library and look at type script of speeches in the second term, he is much less engaged. whether it was the early signs of alzheimer's or simply he was getting older and tired, nobody will ever know. but in the first term anyway, reagan was an active participant in the speech writing process, and one of the great things about having access to these type scripts is that you can actually, actually see it. now, evil empire. let me set the scene for you.
there was a proposal at the time for a nuclear freeze from. to oversimplify, the united states and the soviet union would just freeze the number of their strategic nuclear weapons, just hold them in place. reagan was trying to stop that. reagan did not think this was a good idea because the soviets had nuclear superiority. as we know now, the soviet union was a he is this just about everything -- a mess in just about everything else. the economy was in terrible shape. people had a horrible standard of living. but they did have a pretty powerful nuclear force. that's one area where they had the advantage, and reagan didn't want them to have that advantage, so he was trying to stop the movement for a nuclear freeze. the reason i emphasize this in the past when i had sit-down
exams and i'd ask about this speech, sometimes people would answer, oh or, this speech was designed to -- president reagan's proposal for a nuclear freeze which indicates people weren't quite clear on the concept. so he was fighting the idea of a nuclear freeze. and remember, it's 1983. the cold war is still on. now, in the speech he refers to the cold war in the past tense. sometimes that happened during the 1980s, they referred to the cold war specifically as the period of the '50s and '60s. we now think of the cold war as the entire period between the end of world war ii and the closing of the soviet union on christmas day, 1991. that explains the past tense. but we didn't know in 1983 that the berlin wall was going to fall in 1989. if you had gone this a time machine to 1983 and said eight
years from now the soviet union will close, soviet union will dissolve, component parts of the soviet union will go off into independent countries and at least for a while there will be free elections in russia. of course, that would change with vladimir putin later, but the old soviet union collapses, people would have thought you were crazy if you would have said such a thing. 1983 it was still a growing concern. people were very fearful of the soviet union, and the soviet union was very fearful of the united states. there were times in the 1980s when the cold war might have gotten hot, and we avoided that. if we hadn't avoided that, we wouldn't be here today.
and and so reagan wanted to send a very clear message. now, again, he thought he could mobilize the evangelicals because soviet union is officially, was officially atheistic and wanted to drive that point home to them and engage them against the idea of moral equivalence are. and we're going to see that in the clip that we're going to show right now. this is -- giving a talk about the speech. >> yes, let us pray for the salvation of all those who live in that totalitarian darkness, pray they will discover the joy of knowing god. but until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the
supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world. it was c. suspect lewis who -- c.s. lewis who wrote, the greatest evil is not done now in those sordid dens of crime that dickens loved to paint. it is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. in those we see its final result. but it is conceived and ordered, moved, seconded, carried and minuted in clear, competent, warmed and well-lighted offices by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice is. because these quiet men do not raise their voices, because they sometimes speak in soothing
tones of brotherhood and peace, because like other dictators before them they're always making their final territorial demand, some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. but if history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded a appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. it means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom. so i urge you to speak out against those who would place the united states in a position of military and moral inferiority. you know, i've always believed that that old screw tape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. so in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, i urge you to beware of the temptation of ride if, the temptation of lively declaring yourselves above it all, label both sides equally. to ignore the facts of history
and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant his understanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. >> yeah, there was, right? evil empire, those words. when the words focus of evil in the modern world, evil empire came out -- >> okay. that's the professor talking more about the evil empire. and this was very controversial at the time because many people wanted to have closer relations with the soviet union, and the perception was that by using the term "evil," we would be provoking the soviet union. some of you may see in the clip i showed from the tv series the americans where with the two characters are shocked to see reagan talking this way.
and, yes, within the soviet ranks there was a great deal of shock about reagan. now, how much did reagan's policies have to do with the fall of the soviet union? well, that's quite a debate. some would argue that at most reagan's policies were peripheral. the soviet union collapsed because of internal reasons. others would say that the soviet union fell because reagan gave them a push. you decide. you read the evidence. i'm sure this will come up in a lot of your courses in international relations. important thing, again, is what he was using the speech for. this is a case of a presidential speech having multiple audiences. obviously, his meet obvious was the national association of evangelicals. more broadly it was religious people in the united states,
evangelicals in general who he wanted to mobilize. but while the president speaks, the world listens. people all over the world knew that he had referred to the soviet union as an evil empire. this was of some concern in moscow, to it it mildly. it reached places like warsaw, and there were people who took inspiration from these words. for some people it was inspirational, for other people it was confrontation aal and alarmist. so the speech was a matter of delivering multiple messages to multiple audiences. and we see this a lot in presidential speeches. want to talk about another
reagan speech, and this is something that i hope you had a chance to read about in peggy noonan's chapter, and that is the d-day speech. this is a speech he gave on the 6th of june, 1984, 40 years after the landings in normandy. why 40, not 50? as a practical matter, veterans of d-day were getting older. many of them were simply diagnose, and the white house figured -- dying, and the white house figured this would be the last chance to get a number of veterans of d-day in one place. so a lot of planning went into this. there was a famous speech that we're going to see at a site on normandy beach where american rangers scaled a cliff.
if you've ever been there and you just look up and you say, wow, this is, you know, this was an act of amazing bravely for these guy -- bravery for these guys to do that. militarily, that was a different story. military history, military historians say, well, maybe this was totally unnecessary because the germans -- [inaudible] well, that's a different issue. the heroism of the rangers who scaled the cliff, that's really what reagan wanted to celebrate. democratic lighting. we talked about democratic writing in this course. the case of democratic writing right here. every speech in the white house goes through what some call the approval room. that in the 1980s, it was a paper document. later on all of this would be done electronically.
but this shows who gets a copy of it, who gets to weigh in on the speech. and from the perspective of the speech writer, this can be somewhat a annoying. everybody wants to have a say this it. if you recall from the chapter, peggy noonan says the speech is a -- [inaudible] which is a figure of speech that -- would probably approve of. yeah, everybody wanted to have a say in the speech and even though it's annoying for the speech writer, sometimes the approval room can save you. in this case there was a factual error in the original version of the speech. let me enlarge this a little. elliott was the guy this charge of speech writing. see page 2, suggest double check
facts. as i recall, the big guns were not in place at the top of these cliffs. they had been moved. which is true. so they checked the facts, jim was right, and they changed the text of the speech to remove the factual error. that didn't work with the fake tocqueville comment. but nobody's perfect. if so the speech goes through the approval room, in this case it had the intended effect. see the circled ideas, the enemy guns were quieted, etc. and so reagan gave the famous speech. and, again, it's worth seeing some of the video. >> [inaudible]
with brian lamb every tuesday. may he rest this peace. ronald reagan passes away today. >> much of europe had been under -- to mark that day in history when the allied armies joined this battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. for four long years, much of europe had been under a terrible shadow. free nations had fallen, jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. here in normandy, the rescue began. here the allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history. we stand on a lonely, win-swept point on the northern -- wind-swept point on the northern shore of france. the air is soft, but 40 years
ago at this moment the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. at dawn on the morning of the 6th of june, 1944, 225 rangers jumped off the british landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion, to climb these sheer and is desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. the allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the allied advance. the rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the the edge of the cliff shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades, and the american rangers began to climb. they shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. when one ranger fell, another would take his place. when one rope was cut, a ranger
would grab another and begin his climb again. they held their footing. soon, one by one, the rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of europe. 225 came here. after two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms. behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the ranger daggers that were thrusted at the top of these cliffs, and before we are the men who put them there. these are the boys -- [applause] these are the men who took the cliffs. these are the champions who helped free a con innocent, and these -- continent, and these are the heroes who helped end a war. gentlemen, i look at you and i think of the words of steven --
>> okay. that is a line that is remembered even to this day. two years ago my family went to normandy, and we stood in that very spot. my tour guiled took out a -- guide took out a piece of paper, and he read that speech. he read that speech. so it made a tremendous impression. now, obviously, it's 1984. reagan's running for re-election. obviously, everything the president does during a re-election year has something to do with that, and this associated reagan with heroism, with military strength, with american history. that's one of the advantages you get when you're the incumbent president. now, the other speech or the
other speech writer you were asked to look at was by ben wildman. as i mentioned before, the c america c -- [inaudible] -- cmc. freudian slip there. michael waldman. this focus is on clinton talking about social security. this is an issue that -- [inaudible] the democrats since fdr. every so often republicans would try to do something with social security, and it would always blow with up in their faces. so this was an opportunity for clinton to seize the public attention and focus on this issue. so they include a line in the speech about social security
first. what could you do if you were a republican? you would hold applause from that with all your elderly constituents watching on television? i don't think so because the camera's going to pan the chamber, and those of us old people know who's applauding for us and who isn't. okay. so this -- >> something really important happens to president clinton. the controversy, the controversy that will eventually lead to his impeachment. so how does he address it in the speech? he doesn't! doesn't say a word about it. and people are like, whoa, what is clinton going to say about all of this? is he going to resign?
i'm going to ignore all that, and i'm going to give a speech -- [inaudible] and he did. and so -- >> c-span, more relevant than ever. >> i will advance to the part -- [background sounds] >> now, if we balance the budget for next year, it is projected that we'll then have a sizable surplus in the years that immediately follow. what should we do with this surplus? i have a simple four-word answer, save social security
first. [cheers and applause] >> okay. save social security first because republican were talking about using the surplusfor more tax hikes, and he trumped them on that. and this was all planned. and it turns out they reacted to the speech generally very positively. and from the standpoint of crisis communication, this is a terrific immigration -- illustration of the line i quoted before. to you don't like what's being said, change the conversation. so he just changed the
conversation. i'm going to talk about social security. you can talk about all that, you know, very sordid stuff later, i'm going to talk about what i'm doing. and it worked for him. public opinion stayed with bill clinton. 1998 elections the republicans actually lost seats in the house when they expected to gain them. so say what you will about bill clinton's policies, he was one of the most brilliant with politicians we've ever had in the white house, and i think this clip illustrates that point. last point i want to make before we get into q&a, the role of religion. we saw president reagan talking about religion, and you might be thinking to yourself, well, that's just ray ganger right? reagan, right? lots and is -- lots and lots of presidents have that talked about religion. among the presidents who talked
about it most was barack obama. during the 2008 campaign there were people saying, oh, we don't know what his religious beliefs are. you know, a name like barack obama, we tonight -- we don't know. which is e call car given that he is very religious and knows the bible better probably than a lot of people who were criticizing him. and in this speech, this is the white house easter prayer breakfast 2015, he talks this very, very, very direct terms, very specifically christian terms about his beliefs. >> -- a better place. i'm no preacher, i can't tell anything to this crowd about easter that you don't already know. i can offer just a couple of -- very quickly before we begin the
program. for me, the celebration of easter puts our earthly concerns into perspective. with humility and with all we give thanks to the extraordinary sacrifice of jesus christ, our savior, reflect on the brute alpine that he suffered -- brutal pain that he suffered, the scorn that he absorbed, the sins that he bore, this extraordinary gift of salvation that he gave to us. we try as best we can to comprehend the darkness that he endured so we might receive god's light. and yet even as we grapple with the sheer e thunderstormty of jesus' -- enormity of jesus' sacrifice, on easter we can't lose sight of the fact that the story didn't end on friday. [background sounds] the story keeps on going. >> yes, sir. >> on sunday comes the glorious
resurrection of our savior. good friday may occupy the throne for a day, dr. king once preached, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the rhythm of renewal and redemption, goodness and grace, hope and love. easter is our affirmation that there are better days ahead and also a reminder that it is on us, the live, to make them so. through god's mercy, peter the apostle said we are given an inheritance is kept in heaven for you. it's an inheritance that calls on us to be better, to love more deeply, to serve the least of these as an expression of christ's love here on earth.
the spirit we feel in the example of his holiness, pope francis, who encourages us to seek peace, serve the marginalized and be good stewards of god's creation. like millions of americans, i'm honored that we will be welcoming him to our country later this year. while i quote him, he says that we should strive to see the lord in every -- [inaudible] thirsty, hungry, naked. to see the lord present if even in those who have lost their faith. in the imprisoned, sick, unemployed, persecuted, to see the lord in the leper whether in body or soul who encounters discrimination. isn't that how jesus lived. >> okay. is so, with that, let me focus on questions and comments. one question i would like to
pose, why did president obama use that particular reference in why did he quote pope francis? again, a couple of things are going on here. you know, why quote pope francis? >> [inaudible] and i think the reason obama specifically chose pope francis is he's so appealing to very religious crowds, at the same time the his general base -- [inaudible] had views that are less conservative -- >> that's right. emphasizing inclusion. he's from south america.
and, you know, we might talk about this -- [inaudible] he has a scientific background. he worked as a chemist. but in this case, he's talking about the leper. so in doing an entirely different take on the christian message that a lot of other politicians will make. the president here is talking about his personal beliefs, but he is casting them in ways that will be appealing to more progressive voters. and so this draws a contrast the between the way barack obama talks about religion and the way ronald reagan does. so point of contrast, i know from talking to you before class some of you were surprised by the evil empire speech.
what reaction did you have when you -- [inaudible] >> [inaudible] the relationship america was having with it. but then all of a sudden -- [inaudible] abortion and talking about abortion's relationship to god. so i feel that that idea that it's just focused on our relationship with the soviet union is pretty skewed because i think reagan had other intentions with that speech. >> yeah, that's right. others who had a reaction. yeah. >> i actually thought -- [inaudible] he structured the speech in that way by going off on abortion. i thought -- [inaudible] when he talked about the evil empire, he was directly setting a scenario in the which he's not saving lives. and so i feel like the way -- [inaudible] abortion into the conversation made it appealing to the group by saying, oh, we have to save the unborn child, and that's the only way to save the unborn
child. so he kind of goes on with this rhetoric around abortion about, like, saving lives, and that was sort of how he set up his appeal to then go -- [inaudible] >> he also mentioned that -- [inaudible] an amendment he was trying to get passed -- [inaudible] >> yeah. and realistically, no one actually thought that the school prayer amendment would become part of the constitution. i worked in washington starting shortly after that speech. a lot of politicians talked about it, and everybody knows it was not going to happen. but it was appealing. and it had substantial public support in large areas of the united states. still to this day, you're going to find lots of people who think that ought to be part of the constitution, and that is the constituency he was talking to. >> i think that he also talks
about the family unit in a way, kind of creates that distinction between the way america views the family and abortions without the consent of parents being wrong in america 's eyes and the soviet union's view of family which was much different than american. i think he blends ideas very well with how america is represented and how the soviet union was antithesis of that. >> yeah. something we'll talk about later when we get into political parties in the speech nicely illustrates is time, the conservative movement was a fusion of social conservatives were very concerned about issues like family, abortion, etc. and national security concerns who were very, very strongly anti-communist. and that brought a lot of those people into the tent.
remember, the cold war was a personal issue for a lot of americans because a large faction of voters actually had roots in countries that were behind the iron curtain. particularly polish-americans who were very much aware that at the time the pope was to if liberty. was polish. and art of the message was directed -- part of the message was directed at them as well as, you know, the social conservatives, the national security conservatives. at other times reagan spoke to the economic conservatives with mixed results. on the one hand, he -- [inaudible] on the other hand, spending increase. so that's not a new story. in recent years we've got a similar pattern in fiscal politics. but that's something we did see during the 1980s. yeah. >> [inaudible]
i think it's interesting in how connecting sort of contrasting these families, he's also, he's incorporating those with economic values as well. it's not just that, you know, it's like the states didn't, you know, to prevent abortions that the state presence in economic life is anti-family and anti-religion, and the soviet union provides this excellent -- [inaudible] for making that point. >> sure. and, again, very much on people's mind during the 1980s. sure. >> he also, in addition to creating this image of america as good as opposed to to the sot union as the evil empire, he also emphasizes, like, the original sin of america being -- [inaudible] and slavery. so i thought that was
interesting, kind of appealing to that evangelical understanding of sin. >> yeah. and we didn't have have time for the entire speech, but professor tangor in the talk from which i drew these clips emphasized that. that was the art of the speech -- the part of the speech that got the most applause from the immediate audience when he was talking about transcending the history of slavery and about the necessity to stand firm against bigotry in all forms. .. >> and some of the critical with the reagan administration and while reagan was actually using this to appeal and that is one
line of criticism publicized. >> on the very last page and i think. [inaudible]. the pages on the third line of the draft, the actual which we are reading it, to the specific audience and discuss the speech so i think that we really see how specifically we focus on teaching the audience that the conservative rather than over conservative evangelical like rather than straightforward right now. >> and the speechwriters because this is something that i will be
doing, i guarantee you that some of you will do internships may be for politician it or maybe for and some of you are going to be writing speeches. and what you get out of these two chapters, one by republican and one by democrat. >> they want to have their own ideas and the speeches it doesn't do it and it doesn't matter whether you are a democrat or a republican. there is a different agenda but the importance. >> yes in this case, what it entails. [inaudible]. >> in the politician's language
and the mysteries and speeches but the policy kind of preventing that like technical and fall back on the speeches. >> and yes in the speech writing process, between the policy experts and if the people who put together colorful of what they oppose. and that will always be part of the speech writing process compared to the democratic writing. in my own experience i remember one time i was writing something when i was in washington and i quoted that something better on the wall okay, yes and my boss was the person who is revealing
that and robert frost and she wrote that song. [inaudible]. so i experienced working from on the discarded panel anyway. so i had lots of frustrating stories for my own time writing speeches and the material in washington. and what else, are there other major takeaways from this week's readings. >> over every single word like i remember the china speech for example, when one experts was like hitting issue with the history of the river analogy and how that was marxism versus communism and the speechwriters said that he was just 20 is a metaphor. >> will it can be frustrating for the speechwriters.
when year with the writing for the united states, every word used in the ways a ton and george w bush rather speech in which he talked about the lack of effort to seek uranium and you mentioned the british etc. and just a short passage in one speech but that one short passage led to enormous controversy. >> and the intelligence was faulty so that is why it's hard to understand particularly with the policy and the experts. >> is that a quotation and like
the righteousness. [inaudible]. and like throughout the speech, they attempted to associate government freedom and liberty with religion. and also in the speech, in the past the first amendment and they never intended to have the possibility between government and the conduct of religious belief itself and also an excerpt of the speech, you basically he was making reference to all of these kind of throughout history that our government has made reference to a religious belief when that is not necessarily at the core of the national or the separation and it exists for a reason. >> and we will be talking about this and with the first
amendment. >> and certainly without line is evil and his foreman also saying that you must be in the power of government to enforce the religion because of moral value and i think it was effective and how he gave a speech where there was that question and these are issues and that's why it's important that the government have an argument and saying that we can do it and it is necessary. >> okay, the last two words. >> they talked about the speech as literature and like they have certain and wonder if you think that there was no appetite in the modern political climate if the americans would be receptive
to the more like highfalutin rhetorical style that was more common to decades ago. >> some wood and some would not and was not known for highfalutin rhetoric and in the present space and also that something that the politicians pay attention to. >> scrutinizing every word of the speech and when the scandal broke out, the interpretation that would be interpreted the wrong way. [inaudible]. >> yes and going to oppose the extremely familiar with acquisition in the research.
and not anticipating how the republicans would review the speech and that is again the speechwriter but you have to have a rhetorical person who knows how the other side is going to respond. and on the highly practical notes, i will go on today's class and it will close and i hope you've gotten a little bit of insight into the presidential rhetoric and we will continue our presidency look at a virtual class on wednesday and take care.
technology professor allison lange talks about the suffrage moment. >> so you've been with thinking about images during 19th century period, and specifically today we're going to think about the way that images really constructed gender roles particularly in the 19th century and the ways that activists used images to shape, alter, change gender roles during this time period