Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Presidency, Presidential Rhetoric, Discourse, American Political Thought, Political Culture, Civil Religion, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon

Major Advisor

Jeffrey Dudas

Associate Advisor

Cyrus Zirakzadeh

Associate Advisor

Vincent Moscardelli

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


This project explores the role of presidential discourse in shaping American politics during a pivotal moment of national introspection. Focusing on President Ford, I illuminate the role of presidential discourse in calming the tumultuous political climate following Watergate and show how Ford strengthened the relationship between the American public and their political institutions. The project concludes that President Ford accomplished this by initiating a new covenant with the American people. Although focused on Ford, the dissertation offers valuable insights regarding how scholars assess and interpret presidential discourse and rhetorical leadership. The project also has important implications for understanding how modern presidential speech functions within political culture.