Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"We Wish to Plead Our Own Cause": Rhetorical Links between Native Americans and African Americans during the 1820s and 1830s
by Teutsch, John Matthew, Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 270; 3622958
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation challenges the traditional histories of rhetoric in early America by examining how Scottish Enlightenment rhetoric affected those outside of the white, male-dominated social hierarchy of the early eighteenth century through an examination of works by white women, Native Americans, and African Americans that confluence around national calls for Native American removal and African colonization. Scholars have shown the influence of Scottish Enlightenment rhetoric on the early Republic, specifically the rhetoric of George Campbell and Hugh Blair, and historians have shown the relationships between abolitionists, Native Americans, and African Americans during the nineteenth century. However, these scholars have not shown how writers deployed Scottish Enlightenment rhetoric in these debates. By examining writings by Lydia Maria Child and Catharine Maria Sedgwick, I show how both women incorporated the ideas of sympathy in their works about Native Americans and African Americans. I also explore how activists such as William Apess, David Walker, and Hosea Easton all implemented Campbell's rhetorical ideas into their arguments and discuss how their rhetorical practices can be seen in relationship to one another. Drawing on Blair's thoughts on taste, I explore how newspaper editors John Russwurm and Elias Boudinot viewed taste and how they presented their views to their African American and Cherokee readers respectively. Looking forward, I conclude with a brief examination of the poet Albery Allson Whitman who wrote epic poems centered on the confluence of Native American and African American experiences. Overall, this dissertation works to show how those outside of the social hierarchy wielded rhetorical principles taught in the hallowed halls of the university, and it also explores the understudied links between activists who fought for Native American and African American rights during the early nineteenth century.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ratliff, Clancy
Commitee: McDonald, James C., Wilson, Mary Ann
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African American Studies, American literature, Native American studies
Keywords: Abolitionist movement, African-American, Early American literature, Native American, Rhetoric, Scottish Enlightenment
Publication Number: 3622958
ISBN: 9781303951459
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