A generic perspective on Trump's inaugural address
Felipe James Rea Rivera
December 8, 2017
Department or Program
Heather Ashley Hayes
In the field of rhetorical study, scholars determine the elements of the inaugural speech genre by studying the body of inaugural addresses and drawing common elements from that body of work. In this way, the elements required within the inaugural genre have been constructed by the critics who study it. Each new inaugural address follows the precedents set in the inaugurals before it and adds to the understanding of the inaugural genre. Drawing from the work of Campbell and Jamieson on the genre of inaugural address, I analyze the ways that Trump subverts the inaugural genre. I argue that through these subversions, Trump creates space for future presidents to follow the new precedents he has established through his inaugural. If Trump’s subversions remain throughout future inaugural addresses, a substantial risk of disunity and division could beset the American electorate.