Culture of Eloquence: Oratory and Reform in Antebellum America


Americans of the early Republic valued the art of eloquence, upholding the ideal that an impassioned, intelligent, and moral speaker will provide essential truths to a democratic audience. Drawing on nonfiction prose of the 1830s-1850s--especially orations, lectures, and addresses--James Perrin Warren sketches a cultural history of the reforming power of language. Antebellum America truly defined itself as a culture of eloquence. This disposition could be seen in the creation of new cultural spaces, such as the lyceum and ...

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