History of American Public Address (COMM 422) Spring, 2005
Instructor: Dr. Tony Palmeri phone: 424-7045
Office: A/C 406 (Hours: MWF 10:20 - 11:20 and by appointment)
- Howard Zinn (2004). A People's History of the United States.
New York: Harper & Row.
- Speech texts and other readings are online. See the weekly schedule for
Course Description: In the United States, public
speeches have shaped historical events while paradoxically being shaped by them.
By learning about past events and speeches, we will be better able to understand
present events and perhaps realize our responsibility to speak out for what
we believe in. We may also come to a better understanding of how to recognize,
prepare, and deliver a "great" speech.
Course Objectives: After taking this course, students
should be able to:
- identify major public address themes in United States history.
- identify and discuss the influential speakers and speeches of United States
- perform an oral interpretation of great speeches.
- determine what constitutes a "great" speech
- compose a persuasive manuscript speech.
- deliver a persuasive manuscript speech dealing with his or her own perception
of the "state of the union."
- Speaker Analysis Paper (200 points)
- Oral Interpretation speech/manuscript (300 points)
- Service Learning Group Presentation (200)
- Student State of the Union Speech/manuscript (300 points)
- 930 - 1000 = A
- 900 - 929 = A/B
- 850 - 899 = B
- 800 - 849 = B/C
- 750 - 799 = C
- 700 - 749 = C/D
- 650 - 699 = D
- below 650 = F
- Please arrive to class on time.
- Academic dishonesty will be penalized in accordance with the guidelines
set forth in the student handbook.
- Late papers subtract 20 points for each day late (Subtraction begins at
the end of the class period in which the paper is due).
- All papers must be typed.
- Two absences are allowed with no penalty. Subtract 20 points for each unexcused
- Please be ready to speak on your assigned day.
Course Assignments: Each will be discussed more in
- Speaker Analysis Paper (200 points): The paper is due on Friday,
March 11. The paper must be at least 10 pages long and must address all of
the items on the "Speaker Analysis Checklist" (attached). Each student
will be assigned a speaker and speech that will be covered in this class.
- Oral Interpretation Speech/Manuscript (300 points): All manuscripts
are due on March 28 (Monday). The speeches will take place all of that week.
The general idea is to select a theme from American History (e.g. third party
movements, education, etc.) and locate at least three different speeches (all
by different speakers) that address the theme. Then, put together a manuscript
consisting of an introduction that explains the significance of the theme,
a body that presents blocks of quotes from the three speeches, and a conclusion
that reinforces the importance of the theme for today's society. The oral
interpretation speech must be 8-10 minutes. The manuscript is worth 200 points
and the oral interpretation speech is worth 100 points.
- Service Learning Group Presentations (200 points): Each student will
work in a small group and present his or her oral interpretation speech to
a history class at Webster Stanley Middle School in Oshkosh. The group presentations
will take place in late April. We will discuss this extensively in class.
- Student State Of The Union Speech/Manuscript (300 points): Every
year the president of the United States delivers a State of the Union speech.
What is your view of the State of the Union? Your speech must be 10-15 minutes
and be delivered in a manuscript style. The manuscript is worth 200 points
and the speech is worth 100. We'll discuss this in more depth in class.
Speaker Analysis Checklist
- Name of Orator
- Title of Speech
- Occasion/Place Delivered
- Date Speech Delivered
- Brief Rhetorical Biography of the Speaker
- General biography and important life events
- Life chronology
- Family influences (class, occupation, values)
- Public career and important experiences
- Forces shaping values and ideology
- Rhetorical biography
- Education and rhetorical training
- Nature and extent of public speaking experiences
- Significance of oratory in the speaker's life and career
- Methods of preparation and delivery
- Characteristics of general rhetorical style
2. The Rhetorical Situation for the Speech
- The Exigence:
- What issue led to the decision to speak?
- What was the specific occasion for the speech?
- What were the prevailing opinions on the issue?
- The Audiences (Immediate and Secondary):
- What were the demographics of the audiences? (size, age, background,
- What were the audiences' level of knowledge about the speech topic?
- What were the audiences' attitudes toward the speech topic?
- The Constraints:
- What were the situational or institutional constraints?
- What constraints were created by the audience?
- What constraints were created by the speaker?
3. Speech Purpose and Arguments
- What was the speaker's specific purpose?
- What were the main claims advanced?
- What arguments did the speaker use to support the claims?
- Why did the arguments persuade or fail to persuade?
4. Organization, Style, and Delivery
- How does the introduction frame the issue(s) for the audience(s)?
- Is the purpose made clear in the introduction?
- How does the structure of the arguments contribute to persuasion?
- Did the language give life to the ideas and arguments? (Give examples
- What was unique about the speaker's style?
- Was the speech impromptu, extemporaneous, or prepared?
- What did observers say about the quality or effect of the delivery?
5. Historical and Rhetorical Value
- Why was the speech considered important?
- Why does the speech remain important and valuable for the study of American
- What can we learn about effective rhetoric from the examples of this speech?
- Does the speech still provide understanding of events, ideas, issues, values,
- General biographical sources on the rhetor.
- Books and journal articles analyzing the rhetoric of the speaker or the
7. Attach text of the speech
Week #1: Course Introduction
Week #2: Native American Condition
Week #3: Colonial and Contemporary Sermons
Week #4: The Debate Over The US Constitution
Week #5: Abolitionist Rhetoric
Week #6: The Rhetoric of Women's Rights
March 12 - 20: Spring Break
Week #7: Wealth and Poverty
Week #8: Student Oral Interpretation Presentations
- March 28(M): Student Presentations
- March 30(W): Student Presentations
- April 1(F): Student Presentations
Week #9: War and Peace
Week #10: The Civil Rights Movement
Week #11: The Rhetoric Of Student Rights
Week #12: Writing a Public Address
Week #13: Student State of the Union Speeches
- May 2(M): Individual Consultation With Professor
- May 4(W): Student State of the Union Speeches
- May 6(F): Student State of the Union Speeches
Week #14: Student State of the Union Speeches
- May 9(M): Student State of the Union Speeches
- May 11(W): Student State of the Union Speeches
- May 13(F): Student State of the Union Speeches