Contention, argument, and power have always been the tradition in American political talk. Any country that began in a revolution was bound to have this history. But the language of argument uses particular words with particular, sometimes shifting, meanings and to know what they are and what they meant over time is a critical contribution to political history. It is true that politicians may act as though they are part of no particular ideological tradition, but history shows that, more often than not, they use an understood meaning to enhance their actions. As Daniel T. Rodgers shows in this book, rhetoric has consequences.