The myth of war and peace in presidential discourse: John Kennedy's new frontier myth and the peace corps Academic Article uri icon


  • Some presidents have found it problematic to employ war myths in peaceful, nonmilitary situations. This essay argues that John Kennedy's construction of a war myth for peaceful ends made his public campaign for the Peace Corps compelling. Specifically, Kennedy succeeded because he contextualized the myth of war within one of the country's premiere sacred storiesthe Frontier Mythaltering the Myth's structural elements in the process. He portrayed the Peace Corps volunteers in the heroic spirit of traditional frontier warriors who now combated mythicallyendowed, yet real, enemies to achieve an attainable peace consistent with mythic war. 1996 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All right reserved.

published proceedings

  • Southern Communication Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Dorsey, L. G.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Dorsey, Leroy G

publication date

  • December 1996