Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Donna Hoffman


My research will address some of the unspoken communication that happens when presidents give speeches. In particular I will be addressing environmental factors encountered when presidents give speeches. I have identified a few components that are most important to the environment when a president gives a speech. First I will look at the topic of the speech and the peripheral factors that influence what a president talks about in public. I will only be looking at topic and some of the factors such as timing and other political climate factors that influence topic selection rather than what the president says about a topic. One of the most important environmental factors I'll address is the location of a speech. Places can create certain connotations and symbolism which plays an important role in the message a president conveys in their speech. Additionally, I will look at the audience composition when a president gives a speech. I'll look at things like who is in an audience, how did they come to be in the audience? How does the perceived openness of a president influence what the public thinks of a president, and how does this perception influence the president's effectiveness and his strategy of governing as campaigning. The last environmental factor I'll look at also impacts the public's perception of a president's openness, his interaction with the press and other media. Was there a question and answer session connected to his speech? Who asked the questions? How much time is devoted to questions from the media? For the most part I've stayed away from analyzing the president's responses because that delves beyond looking at environmental factors in to more of a rhetorical analysis than I want to evaluate. However, I've found it nearly impossible to not address at least some of the rhetorical information I've gathered, so while it won't be a primary focus it will be peripherally discussed.

Year of Submission



Department of Political Science

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (19 pages)