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)



Required Texts:

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:

  1. identify major public address themes in United States history.
  2. identify and discuss the influential speakers and speeches of United States history.
  3. perform an oral interpretation of great speeches.
  4. determine what constitutes a "great" speech
  5. compose a persuasive manuscript speech.
  6. deliver a persuasive manuscript speech dealing with his or her own perception of the "state of the union."

Course Requirements:

  1. Speaker Analysis Paper (200 points)
  2. Oral Interpretation speech/manuscript (300 points)
  3. Service Learning Group Presentation (200)
  4. Student State of the Union Speech/manuscript (300 points)

Grading Scale

Necessary Policies

  1. Please arrive to class on time.
  2. Academic dishonesty will be penalized in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the student handbook.
  3. Late papers subtract 20 points for each day late (Subtraction begins at the end of the class period in which the paper is due).
  4. All papers must be typed.
  5. Two absences are allowed with no penalty. Subtract 20 points for each unexcused absence.
  6. Please be ready to speak on your assigned day.

Course Assignments: Each will be discussed more in class.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Brief Rhetorical Biography of the Speaker

3. Speech Purpose and Arguments

4. Organization, Style, and Delivery

5. Historical and Rhetorical Value

6. Bibliography

7. Attach text of the speech

Weekly Schedule

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

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

Week #14: Student State of the Union Speeches