1. Have students look at iindexes of several "readers"--what
types of speeches are included?--by who? about what? any messages?
2. Have students look at topics about speaking (elocution, etc.)
and skim one or two sections. What was expected of nineteenth century
orators--how were they supposed to behave? Does that tell you anything?
3. Read samples from Blair and other books. Use rhetorical theories
from Blair (etc.) to analyze one of the speeches in the collection.
4. Memorize a speech from one of the readers and try to deliver
it according to the instructions in the books or try to deliver
one of the speeches from Peter Parley, following the instructions
provided in the margins of the magazine article.
Do a close reading of a speech from one of the readers, and explain
the kinds of ideas and beliefs that the speech communicates.
Test the claims of Frederick Douglass and a "lady of the south"
by reading several speeches from a reader
If you think about all of the politicians, teachers, and ministers
or priests that you have listened to in the course of your lifetime,
you will begin to realize that you have heard a great many speakers.
Describe the characteristics of one person you have heard who you
regard as a powerful speaker, and explain why find that individual's
speaking style appealing. Your description should include all of
the following: 1) a list of the speaker's main attributes; 2) an
explanation of each of those characteristics; 3) at least one specific
example to illustrate each characteristic, and 4) an explanation
of why that characteristic is important. In your conclusion, draw
upon your description of this speaker's individual characteristics
in oder to explain your philosophy of effective speaking.
Alternatively, you may compare and/or contrast the qualities of
your own favorite speaker with the qualities expected of 19th century
American orators or with the qualities demonstrated by a particular
orator in that period. In your conclusion, discuss whether speaking
styles have changed over time and what the presence or absence of
those changes tells us about changes or continuity in American culture.
You may compare and/oryou regard that indiYou have heard a great
many speakers in the course of your life politicians, ministers
and priests, teachers.
5. Watch a tape of a more recent speech--or read a transcript from
Douglass School of Public ___-I have a dream? Kennedy's innaugural?
How are our own approaches to public speaking similar or different?
6. compare contrast douglass and garrison?
7. Visit "Lyceum" project--Review the topics of lyceum
speeches--what can you tell about what kinds of subjects 19th century
American audiences were interested in hearing about when they visited
lyceums? Read their responses, what can you tell about what made
a speaker popular or unpopular?
8. web site on Thoreau's speeches.
9. Go to MOA (elsewhere?)--look for descriptions of a famous orator:
clay, webster, lincoln, douglass?
10. read douglass (anyone else?) on Platform life.
11. Read conduct/advice manuals on speaking==
Bobbin Boy--Which do YOU think makes a better model for Americans--Franklin
or Patrick Henry--and why? Find out more about one of the men Thayer
mentions as a model: Franklin, Henry, Cobbett, Kitto, St. Pierre,
etc. What makes that person stand out? What do they have in common?
What person would you name as the model for a self-made American,
and why? (What woman?)
Any of the things Nat talks about in conduct books? (punctuality,
Make list of ten to twelve most important habits or character traits
you should practice in order ot lead a good and successful life.
Then read "Bobbin Boy" and compare your list to Franklin's.
Any differences? Are there things that matter to you that didn't
matter to Franklin or vice versa? Why?Was your language the same
or different? Do you think his would work today? Translate Franklin's
into language that would be understood by modern Americans. Put
Franklin's in order for modern life.
What about factory life--