The myth of war and peace in presidential discourse: John Kennedy's “new frontier” myth and the peace corps
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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 stories—the Frontier Myth—altering 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 mythically‐endowed, yet real, enemies to achieve an attainable peace consistent with mythic war. © 1996 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All right reserved.
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