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Title:Alben W. Barkley: The Image of The Southern Political Orator (Kentucky)
Author(s):Neelley, Ewing Edward, Jr.
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
History, United States
Speech Communication
Abstract:The course of research on the concept of ethos has been basically directed toward evaluating how a given audience feels about the image or reputation that a speaker brings to the speech situation. The present study enlarged the scope of present commonly held beliefs about ethos to answer the question: Did the image conveyed by Alben W. Barkley in his public activities and public speaking conform to the expectations of his regional constituency?
In focusing upon a tool for evaluating the image of Alben W. Barkley, it was necessary to include the total concept of ethos as a point of departure. Ethos includes reputation to create initial interest, self-introduction to orient the audience to the positive activities of the candidate, and relevant topics to reinforce the beliefs of the audience.
The study turned to an overview of the South in the period under question (1900-1932) to determine appropriate cultural material for inclusion in political speaking. The most predominant political characteristics of the South were conservatism and an unwavering allegiance to the Democratic Party. These and other Southern traits may have been derivative of unique requirements of the region as well as the experience of defeat and occupation following the Civil War. In addition to its political affiliation, the South firmly held to its uniquely designed institutions and myths. In general, the South was considered to be alienated from the mainstream of the American Dream and developed a sense of history to deal with its alienation.
The analysis of Barkley's speaking between 1900 and 1932 included the application of the concept of the image of the regional orator to the manuscripts of twenty-six speeches. It was concluded that Barkley did fulfill regional expectations of his image through his reputation and background, his self-introduction in the speech text, and his appropriate treatment of salient regional topics. He addressed the topics of Kentucky, agriculture, and the Democratic Party predominantly. His use of regional identification devices drew from various Southern institutions: education, religion, and politics.
The study concluded that Alben W. Barkley was a regional political speaker who treated regional topics according to the demands of his constituency. He was a part of the Southern experience from his youth and tapped the cultural resources of his state and region to provide the reputation, self-disclosure, and topics for his political speeches.
Issue Date:1987
Description:183 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8711840
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1987

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