Kelly Long



Document Type



Since September 11th, 2001, the word “terrorism” has helped to shape and been shaped by the culture of the American people who have come into contact with this concept on a daily basis. The use of “terrorism” and its companion the War on “Terror” carried with it certain ideological baggage that has serve as a prism in which the American people have viewed United States’ foreign affairs over the past decade. The fight against “terrorism” offered a pre-text for the U.S. to engage in two different wars, administrated a policy of hunting and killing “terrorists” across the globe, constructed policies that limited civil liberties, and articulated a vision of America’s new role will be during the 21st century. This study attempts to answer the question: How did President Obama use “terrorism” in putting forth his foreign policy agenda? To answer this question, I begin by providing a theoretical overview of presidential rhetoric and ideographs. Then, I examine the first two years of President Obama’s foreign policy rhetoric to determine how “terrorism” was employed by the administration. I take each year on its own merits because each year came with different exigent challenges. I end with some conclusions regarding President Obama and ideographs and the implications of his “terrorist” rhetoric in shaping his foreign policy agenda, along with some suggestions for future research.


Communications Studies

Thesis Comittee

Jason Edwards (Thesis Director)

Maria Hegbloom

Jessica Birthisel

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.