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Personal profile

Research Interests

Rhetoric of the US presidency and contemporary politics; presidential war rhetoric and campaign speeches.

Professional Information

John Murphy studies the history of American Public Address and political rhetoric. He is the author of John F. Kennedy and the Liberal Persuasion, a critique of President Kennedy's greatest speeches and the liberal tradition. He studies the evolution of political languages. He's written on John and Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King. Jr., George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. His scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Rhetoric & Public AffairsQuarterly Journal of Speech, and American Literary History. His commentary on the presidency and presidential rhetoric regularly appears  in popular media outlets such as The Conversation USAWashington PostNew York Times, and USA Today. He is currently working on a book project concerning the civil rights rhetoric of James Baldwin, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King, Jr.


Ph.D., University of Kansas

Honors & Awards

2015 Campus Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
2015 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
2004 National Communication Assocation Golden Monograph Award


CMN 321: Strategies of Persuasion
CMN 396: Rhetoric and the Presidency
CMN 423: Rhetorical Criticism
CMN 538: Graduate Seminar in Rhetoric

Office Address

3001 Lincoln Hall, MC-456
702 S Wright Street
Urbana IL 61801

Office Phone

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Research Output

John F. Kennedy and the Liberal Persuasion

Murphy, J. M., Jan 1 2019, Michigan State University Press. 326 p. (Rhetoric & Public Affairs)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • In Pursuit of Peace: John F. Kennedy, June 1963

    Murphy, J. M., Sep 1 2018, World War II and the Cold War: The Rhetoric of Hearts and Minds. Medhurst, M. J. (ed.). Michigan State University Press, p. 365-414 (Rhetorical History of the United States; vol. 8).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Barack Obama and Rhetorical History

    Murphy, J. M., Jan 2 2015, In : Quarterly Journal of Speech. 101, 1, p. 213-224 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Between structure and struggle: The intellectual legacy of James Arnt Aune

    Murphy, J. M., Sep 1 2013, In : Rhetoric and Public Affairs. 16, 3, p. 567-575 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Decision 2012: Presidential Election Analysis from the CM Café

    Benoit, W. L., Bostdorff, D. M., Carlin, D. B., Coe, K., Holbert, R. L., Murphy, J. M. & Miller, K., Jun 1 2013, In : Communication Monographs. 80, 2, p. 243-254 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Press / Media

    260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Virus

    John M Murphy


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment