In this article, I argue for the importance of investigating covenantal rhetoric as a multipronged rhetorical device that can be used by political leaders to moralize discourse and strategically manage competing covenantal tensions in response to a particular social, economic, and/or political exigence. Specifically, it explores how President Ronald Reagan drew on the Puritan covenantal framework to usher in an era of free-market economics and transform it from a chaotic and self-interested system into a covenantal economy in which people could fulfill their moral obligations to self, God, and others. Using covenantal form, Reagan eased the tensions between freedom and order, grace and works, and individuality and community in a way that provided a moral foundation for his tax and welfare policies and a moral safety net for all who had faith in God’s grace. Within Reagan’s covenantal economy, trickle-down economics was framed as both an economically feasible and morally commendable process in which entrepreneurs and welfare recipients could join together in a “circle of prosperity” without government interference or the obligation to provide direct material assistance to others.

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