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Sandra J. Sarkela
University of Memphis (Memphis, TN 38152-0001)
The Political Discourse of John Dickinson: A Case Study in the Rhetoric of Moderation

I am requesting funding to continue research at archives in Philadelphia and vicinity to complete a book on the political rhetoric of John Dickinson. A self-professed moderate, Dickinson was one of the most important political figures in America during the late eighteenth-century. Although scholarship on Dickinson is very limited, his writing and speaking established key arguments used by colonists in their resistance to new Parliamentary regulations. More than a comprehensive description of Dickinson's rhetorical activity, this project analyzes his messages within their specific and global contexts, in relationship to counter-arguments and changing attitudes of the various audiences being addressed. This case study of the rhetoric of moderation has potential to inform theories of democracy and civic engagement, topics of increasing concern as we witness the growth of intolerance and polarized rhetoric in our own times.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010