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Race, Rhetoric, and Running for President: Unpacking the Significance of Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" Speech

Susanna Dilliplane
Rhetoric and Public Affairs
Vol. 15, No. 1 (SPRING 2012), pp. 127-152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41955609
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Race, Rhetoric, and Running for President: Unpacking the Significance of Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" Speech
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Abstract

Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech was widely viewed as a key rhetorical moment in the 2008 presidential campaign. The purpose of this essay is to unpack reasons why the speech was significant, focusing particularly on the complex historical and contemporary dynamics of African American oratory black churches, race relations, and American politics. largue that the significance of the speech lies in the specific rhetorical challenges posed by the immediate context, the rhetorical strategy that Obama used to negotiate those challenges, and the way in which this strategy resonated more broadly with the rhetorical themes underlying Obamas candidacy.

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