Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

1974

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech

Abstract

Throughout American history, the question of women's rights initiated a substantial body of rhetoric. The two most prominent women's rights movements seem to be the woman's suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920 and the current women's liberation movement. The recurrence of organized movements on the subject of women's equal rights raises the question whether the themes expressed in the rhetoric of each movement are similar. Therefore, the purpose in this investigation was to discover the extent to which speaking on behalf of women's rights by women utilized recurring themes. The two most prominent women's rights movements seem to be the woman's suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920 and the current women's liberation movement. The recurrence of organized movements on the subject of women's equal rights raises the question whether the themes expressed in the rhetoric of each movement are similar. Therefore, the purpose in this investigation was to discover the extent to which speaking on behalf of women's rights by women utilized recurring themes. In order to determine the recurrence of themes, answers to the following questions were sought: (1) What events and influences surrounded the development of the woman's suffrage movement? (2) What events and influences surrounded the development of the women's liberation movement? (3) What themes were present in selected women's rights speeches from 1848 to 1920? (4) What themes were present in selected women's rights speeches from October 15, 1963, through October 1, 1973? (5) How frequently did themes recur within the rhetoric of each period? (6) To what extent did the themes recur from the former period to the latter period? Although the preceding questions are not the only ones which apply to the rhetoric of the two women's rights movements, they do provide for the identification and recording of observations which might be of value to prospective scholars in communication. The investigation into the occurrence of themes will also indicate whether the two movements being considered in this study are two individually unique movements. Finally, it is hoped that a value to historians will be found in this study since the women's rights movement will be likely to have a lasting political, social, and economic impact on the United States.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women's rights

Rhetoric

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

99

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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