Demagogues and the “Guardrails of Democracy”

Demagogues and the “Guardrails of Democracy” PurposeContemporary American politics has been characterized by excessive, vitriolic rhetoric since the 2016 presidential victory of Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump’s brand of politics is nothing new. He is the inheritor and latest proponent for a brand of American politics that utilizes demagogic rhetoric. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Two activities for the high school classroom are given that look at the demagogic rhetoric employed by Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace, two of the most infamous political demagogues of the twentieth century.Design/methodology/approachWith the first activity, McCarthy’s “Enemies from Within Speech” is analyzed by breaking down the speech with Gustainis’ seven traits of demagoguery (1990). Similarly in the second activity, George Wallace’s inaugural address is examined with Gustainis’ seven traits of demagoguery, and then, the authors provide a series of activities that students can do to protest the demagogic rhetoric in Wallace’s inaugural address. Finally, an appendix is provided with additional speeches from American demagogues that social studies teachers can use to teach about elements of demagoguery.FindingsIn this paper, the authors provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Two activities for the high school classroom are given that look at the demagogic rhetoric employed by Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace, two of the most infamous political demagogues of the twentieth century.Originality/valueContemporary American politics has been characterized by excessive, vitriolic rhetoric since the 2016 presidential victory of Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump’s brand of politics is nothing new. He is the inheritor and latest proponent for a brand of American politics that utilizes demagogic rhetoric. In this paper, the authors provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Students need to be able to critically examine demagogic rhetoric to hold elected officials accountable for their words, actions and policies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Studies Research and Practice Emerald Publishing

Demagogues and the “Guardrails of Democracy”

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1933-5415
DOI
10.1108/SSRP-05-2018-0022
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeContemporary American politics has been characterized by excessive, vitriolic rhetoric since the 2016 presidential victory of Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump’s brand of politics is nothing new. He is the inheritor and latest proponent for a brand of American politics that utilizes demagogic rhetoric. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Two activities for the high school classroom are given that look at the demagogic rhetoric employed by Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace, two of the most infamous political demagogues of the twentieth century.Design/methodology/approachWith the first activity, McCarthy’s “Enemies from Within Speech” is analyzed by breaking down the speech with Gustainis’ seven traits of demagoguery (1990). Similarly in the second activity, George Wallace’s inaugural address is examined with Gustainis’ seven traits of demagoguery, and then, the authors provide a series of activities that students can do to protest the demagogic rhetoric in Wallace’s inaugural address. Finally, an appendix is provided with additional speeches from American demagogues that social studies teachers can use to teach about elements of demagoguery.FindingsIn this paper, the authors provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Two activities for the high school classroom are given that look at the demagogic rhetoric employed by Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace, two of the most infamous political demagogues of the twentieth century.Originality/valueContemporary American politics has been characterized by excessive, vitriolic rhetoric since the 2016 presidential victory of Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump’s brand of politics is nothing new. He is the inheritor and latest proponent for a brand of American politics that utilizes demagogic rhetoric. In this paper, the authors provide an overview of demagoguery along with the traits of demagogic rhetoric. Students need to be able to critically examine demagogic rhetoric to hold elected officials accountable for their words, actions and policies.

Journal

Social Studies Research and PracticeEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 19, 2018

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