Publication Date


Document Type



This essay examines how American presidents define the “good citizen,” particularly as it relates to naturalized immigrants. Because citizens who are naturalized have to go through an onerous process to become citizens they can offer lessons to natural-born Americans who take their citizenship for granted. I argue that presidents construct naturalized immigrants as the lifeblood of American progress and power. The accomplishments of individual citizen heroes provide something for all to emulate. At the same time, presidents define the good citizen in a one-dimensional way that undermines the potential of communal activities to bring issues and problems to light that need to discussed, debated, and potentially solved.

Original Citation

Edwards, J. (2014). The Good Citizen: Presidential Rhetoric, Immigrants, and Naturalization Ceremonies. American Communication Journal, 16(2), 43-51.

Included in

Communication Commons