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ENGBERS, Susanna Kelly

Summer 2007, 37:3, pages 307 - 332

With Great Sympathy: Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Innovative Appeals to Emotion

Nineteenth-century orator Elizabeth Cady Stanton frequently spoke to groups of male legislators. In examining the ways in which she met this challenge, scholars have tended to focus on how she "argued like a man" via logical appeals. In this article, I discuss Stanton's equally strong reliance on an emotional appeal: namely, that of sympathy. The practices and theories of Stanton's peer, the well-known preacher Henry Ward Beecher, as well as the moral and rhetorical thought of eighteenth-century Scotsman Adam Smith illuminate Stanton's own practices of sympathy. This study yields both a fresh interpretation of Stanton's oratory and an expanded understanding of sympathy's role in the rhetoric of the marginalized.


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