War, Democracy, and the State
The preoccupation of America's modern presidents with public attitudes toward the nation's overseas commitments has not been confined just to incidents of hot war. The battle for the hearts and minds of the American populace was waged with comparable vigor throughout the Cold War as well. They recognized the great value of having a public that was broadly supportive of major foreign policy commitments—and, conversely, they recognized the danger of not having that support. While presidential rhetoric has remained an indispensable instrument for reaching and molding mass opinion from the late nineteenth century to the present, first the advent of motion pictures and radio, and then television, have allowed U.S. chief executives to reach ever-larger audiences and in a much more immediate, and intimate, manner.
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