Public opinion and the nuclear freeze: The rhetoric of popular sovereignty in foreign policy debate Academic Article uri icon


  • This essay examines the role of rhetorically-mediated public opinion in the congressional nuclear freeze debate of 1982-1983, Exploring how two competing portraits of public opinion emerged during the debate, it argues that the House freeze resolution of 1983 symbolically deferred to both “publics” with its endorsement of both the freeze and the Reagan administration’s START initiative. The study illustrates the philosophical and empirical topoi of appeals to “the people” in political debate, and it argues for a situational perspective on the role of public opinion in the policymaking process. © 1991 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hogan, J. M., & Dorsey, L.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • December 1991