'Above all Greek, above all Roman fame': Classical Rhetoric in America during the Colonial and Early National Periods

Farrell, James
September 2011
International Journal of the Classical Tradition;Sep2011, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p415
Academic Journal
The broad and profound influence of classical rhetoric in early America can be observed in both the academic study of that ancient discipline, and in the practical approaches to persuasion adopted by orators and writers in the colonial period, and during the early republic. Classical theoretical treatises on rhetoric enjoyed wide authority both in college curricula and in popular treatments of the art. Classical orators were imitated as models of republican virtue and oratorical style. Indeed, virtually every dimension of the political life of early Ameria bears the imprint of a classical conception of public discourse. This essay marks the various specific aspects of the reception and influence of the classical rhetorical tradition in the learning, speaking and writing of Americans in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


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