Franklin Roosevelt and His New Deal: A Rhetoric of Class-Consciousness and the Role of Identification

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Narrell, Benjamin
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
Using an understanding of rhetoric put forward by Kenneth Burke, one which emphasizes the role of identification in rhetorical interaction, this project examines the techniques used by Franklin Roosevelt to raise the class-consciousness of American workers in the midst of the Great Depression. By implementing rhetorical techniques such as metaphors and allusions, often historical or religious, FDR was able to educate regular Americans on their material roles and conditions, foster solidarity between them, and inspire action that would shift the balance of power and help bring working people out of economic crisis. Though much of what the New Deal accomplished has been stripped away in the era of neoliberalism, turning to FDR can provide us with crucial strategies for rebuilding and reorganizing the working classes in these particularly turbulent times.
College of Liberal Arts, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Roosevelt, FDR, Great Depression, New Deal, Neoliberalism, Class-Consciousness, Kenneth Burke, Identification