Barack Obama, the Exodus Tradition, and the Joshua Generation

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This essay explores Barack Obama's invocation of the Exodus during his 2008 presidential campaign. It argues Obama's turn to Exodus, his rare embodiment of Joshua, and his renewal of the American covenant nicely addressed major rhetorical problems that he faced. Of equal importance, his campaign oratory opens an important line of inquiry into the relationship between social order and critique in this idiom. Obama's discourse induces us to examine anew the possibilities for social and political change suggested by the Exodus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-410
Number of pages24
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • 2008 presidential campaign
  • American covenant
  • American jeremiad
  • Barack obama
  • Exodus tradition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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