Public addresses make a difference—a huge difference! Whether we think of public addresses as orations, as speeches, or as persuasive written documents, so many of these public addresses are intricately linked to the kind of nation and society we experience in the United States in the early twenty-first century.
American Rhetorical Excellence is the most complete and up-to-date single volume on American rhetoric and oratory. In a readable and interesting style, Dr. Cotham explains what makes a speech great and enduring, and he dares to list and rank the top ten public addresses in American history. Altogether, 101 famous public addresses are discussed in brief essays, and Dr. Cotham offers insights into both the context and practical application of these important addresses. A wide range of other topics are discussed, including American political speaking, presidential debating, campaign speaking, famous pieces of written rhetoric, and American demagoguery.
Although choosing from the veritable pantheon of American speakers and speeches is a difficult and even contentious challenge, American Rhetorical Excellence will equally challenge students of history, political science, and communication to think deeply about the fascinating ways in which American rhetoric has shaped the politics, culture, religion, and reformation of the United States.