By Kathleen Hall Jamieson
How vital are presidential debates at the present time? to respond to this question, the authors position glossy debates of their cultural and historic context, tracing their origins and improvement within the American political culture, from the eighteenth century to the current, and concluding with feedback for bettering their present effectiveness.
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Additional resources for Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate
McElligott stressed the unique importance of debate to an American citizen. In language similar to Adams' or Hall's, he extolled debate as a duty of citizenship that held the promise of greatness for everyone. "The occasions for the use of deliberative eloquence are now more numerous and important than they ever have been in any previous age of the world. "20 Characteristics of Prebroadcast Debates 25 Legal Training Many of America's politicians began their professional lives as attorneys and were schooled in face-to-face advocacy in this role.
The wide reach of the debate form and its importance in capturing the voters catapulted talented young surrogates to national attention. Besides revealing the power of a set of ideas, the information gained from the debates allowed voters to judge the worth of those who would one day seek elective office. Public access to debate extended the sense of citizen engagement in the affairs of the democracy. Debate served well in some respects, poorly in others. Though well adapted to deliberating questions of policy, the quality of debate often suffered when turned to purposes beyond assessing the 3# Presidential Debates merits of a proposition.
The prominent debaters of the early national period were powerful members of their parties whose arguments digested the legislative battles of their time. Their cases were delivered on the floors of the House and Senate as well as in newspapers and town meeting halls. The wide reach of the debate form and its importance in capturing the voters catapulted talented young surrogates to national attention. Besides revealing the power of a set of ideas, the information gained from the debates allowed voters to judge the worth of those who would one day seek elective office.
Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate by Kathleen Hall Jamieson