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Selling War in a Media AgeThe Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century$
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Kenneth Osgood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034669

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034669.001.0001

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Introduction Hail to the Salesman in Chief

Introduction Hail to the Salesman in Chief

Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy, and the Presidency

(p.1) Introduction Hail to the Salesman in Chief
Selling War in a Media Age
Andrew L. Johns, Kenneth Osgood
University Press of Florida

The idea of selling war is not exclusive to the modern presidency. The words and deeds of the nineteenth-century presidents resonate with parallels during the “media age” and set precedents for their successors. The selling of war—or any U.S. foreign policy initiative—to the American public predates the American century. Propaganda as a tool of foreign relations predates the United States by centuries. Political leaders have always intuited the importance of dealing with public opinion, both in terms of reacting to it and shaping it. The advent of technology, evolution in the role and scope of the federal government and the increasing sophistication of propaganda, and public relations techniques would fundamentally alter the relationship between the Oval Office and domestic political opinion.

Keywords:   modern presidency, selling war, U.S. foreign policy, foreign relations, Oval Office, political leaders

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