Stephen Fender con The Great American Speech: Words and Monuments (English Edition)
Everyone knows the great American Dream: that America is the land of free enterprise, offering men and women without inherited advantages the chance to get ahead through hard work and self-reliance. Yet The Great American Speech offers an alternative vision, one enshrined in the country's most memorable speeches, which have become monuments in its national memory and literally in the nation's capital. This other American dream is not about competition or getting ahead, but instead argues for equality and cooperation, echoing the country's founding documents. Beginning with two contrasting visions set out by early settlers in the New World, Stephen Fender goes on to explore how this other dream has been kept alive in public speeches to live audiences, from inaugural addresses by early presidents such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, through Abraham Lincoln's arguments - both logical and passionate - for the Union, and on to mass appeals for wider understanding by John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Fender suggests that these opposing visions of the country's moral purpose are fundamentally two free-standing visions of national identity.He considers the 'great American speech' in popular culture, illustrating how it pops up not just where you might expect it, such as in cinema's courtrooms, but in adventure films, thrillers and political melodramas as well, where in the midst of conflict someone often speaks up for the relative normality of a more egalitarian, sharing society. The Great American Speech is a contemplative and fascinating look at a hidden strand of American national identity.