Bully pulpit

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This article is about the turn of phrase. For the comic book, see Tales From the Bully Pulpit. For the game company, see Bully Pulpit Games.

A bully pulpit is a conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to. This term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to the White House as a "bully pulpit", by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. Roosevelt used the word bully as an adjective meaning "superb" or "wonderful", a more common usage in his time than it is today.[1][2] The term is related to the phrase "Bully for you", used in modern English since as early as 1864.[3]


  1. ^ Michael Patrick Cullinane; Clare Frances Elliott (18 February 2014). Perspectives on Presidential Leadership: An International View of the White House. Routledge. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-1-135-07903-1. 
  2. ^ Stephen James Nelson (16 September 2009). Leaders in the Crossroads: Success and Failure in the College Presidency. R&L Education. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-1-60709-249-0. 
  3. ^ Murray, James Augustus Henry, Sir (1887). A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles:. Clarendon Press. p. 1172. Retrieved January 16, 2017. ...1864/Daily Telegraph/18 Nov. "...and bully for you", 1864/Sanitary Commission/US Army "...Others would say 'good', and others would use the very expressive "Bully!") 

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