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From salisbury to senator: An analysis of Elizabeth Dole's political style and rhetorical persona in public and political discourse

Rachel B Friedman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This dissertation takes a rhetorical biographical approach in exploring the political life of Elizabeth Hanford Dole. Dole’s management of the conflicting demands of a number of tensions through a political style, which was Southern and feminine, was successful early in her career. As a Senator, she took on more serious hard-hitting political issues like the war in Iraq, terrorism, and immigration. During this time, her style was ill-suited to the world of electoral politics. Elizabeth Dole’s speeches and writings reveal a number of repetitive themes; including religion and moral values, the role of women, motherhood and childcare, and better schools. I employ Jamieson’s double binds, Hariman’s political styles, and Burkean pentadic ratios to explore Dole’s discourse. Beyond her own words, I also examine how both the elite press and political blogs characterized her as a political figure. Finally, I discuss the implications of Dole’s political style. I conclude that over the course of her thirty-year public life, Dole managed to construct a political image that balances a Ciceronian republican style and her own demure, feminine style in an effort to deal with the tensions and challenges female politicians face.^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Speech Communication|Political Science, General

Recommended Citation

Friedman, Rachel B, "From salisbury to senator: An analysis of Elizabeth Dole's political style and rhetorical persona in public and political discourse" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3360494.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3360494

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