Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



For the purposes of this study it was judged necessary to define two terms: 1. Rhetorical environment has been defined as including the place of the inaugurals, the audiences present, and the issues prominent in the state at the time an inaugural address was delivered. 2. A theme is defined as an original statement that encompasses an overall idea and may have supporting assertions. A theme is subordinate only to the thesis and is coordinate with other themes. This particular study began as an analysis of all gubernatorial South Dakota inaugural addresses from 1889 through 1973. However, after the research was initiated it was determined that such an undertaking would require an unreasonable amount of time beyond the normal expectations of a master’s thesis. Therefore, with the advice of the thesis advisor, it was decided to treat the first half of the project with the hope that some other student might complete the second half of the project. Because this study was limited specifically to the inaugural addresses in South Dakota, the conclusions drawn are not necessarily applicable to inaugural addresses in other states. Additionally, this particular study, in dealing with only those inaugurals between 1889-193l, left much material of concern with inaugural addresses in South Dakota untouched. Any further study of gubernatorial inaugural addresses after 1931 might not reveal similar conclusions. Despite these limitations, this study should be of value both to scholars in Speech and in History as a partial record of the historical role of rhetoric in government in South Dakota. The study should give some evidence of. the role of rhetoric in the development of a society or a culture. It should, in particular, be helpful in identifying the rhetorical significance of the South Dakota gubernatorial inaugural address.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Governors -- South Dakota -- Inaugural addresses

South Dakota -- Politics and government



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University