A Critical Discourse Analysis of George W. Bush's Speeches on American Exceptionalism to Propagate War on Terrorism

Abstract

American exceptionalism is a political philosophy with ideological rivals which lets the American people think of political conditions, such as equality, liberty, and democracy as possessions for the USA. It is based on American ideology. The study examines and analyzes the American ex-president George W. Bush's speeches by relating his language to the ideology in the speeches. The aim of the research is to reveal the effects of linguistic manipulations on ideology by linking language to the structure of a society, and to find out the impact of a combination of different ideologies on the audience. It also reveals how language is used positively and negatively to emphasize positive self-representation and negative other-representation. Therefore, it hypothesizes the question: Are Bush's rhetoric positively or negatively perceived by his community members particularly post the September 11th events? The data selected for this study are seven speeches of Bush from the period of September 2001 till January 2002 that are analyzed linguistically and ideologically within Van Dijk's (2005) framework. The study arrives at these conclusions: (i) Bush's rhetoric have emphasized the positive ideologies of the Americans by repeating the positive linguistic expressions, and the negative ideologies of their opponents (the terrorists) by repeating the negative linguistic expressions. (ii) The positive self-representation is explicitly used more than negative other-representation throughout the choice of vocabulary in the speeches.