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The Politics and Aesthetics of Deliberation

The Politics and Aesthetics of Deliberation

(p.97) Four The Politics and Aesthetics of Deliberation
Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic
Sandra M. Gustafson
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the politics and aesthetics of deliberation. It states that the aesthetics of deliberation evolved in tandem with its politics. Henry Clay contributed to the evolution of Congress by building up the post of House Speaker, an accomplishment that acted as a piece of his interpretation of the presidency and his theory of republicanism. Clay's associate Edward Everett was a leading analyst of deliberative eloquence and an influential advocate for literary oratory. He laid out the criteria for aesthetically compelling parliamentary rhetoric in an 1827 North American Review article on the collection of Clay's speeches. The chapter describes Daniel Webster's speeches and states that Webster crafted a rhetorical style that combined broad knowledge with an elegant vernacular idiom, sentiment with clear, accessible argument.

Keywords:   deliberation, aesthetics, politics, Henry Clay, Edward Everett, Daniel Webster, rhetoric, speeches

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