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The Eloquence of Edward Everett

Katula, Richard A.

The Eloquence of Edward Everett

America’s Greatest Orator

Year of Publication: 2010

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2010. XII, 166 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1029-0 hardback  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.440 kg, 0.970 lbs

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Book synopsis

Edward Everett (1794-1865) was America’s first Ph.D., a United States Congressman, Governor of Massachusetts, Ambassador to England, President of Harvard University, Secretary of State, a United States Senator, and a Vice-Presidential candidate. In the midst of this distinguished career, he was also a famous and profound orator, delivering hundreds of orations across the nation, and at least five of the most important speeches in American history. In this book, Everett’s training as an orator and his career on the public stage are reviewed in the context of his times, often referred to as the Golden Age of American oratory. Through analyses of a number of his most illustrious orations – such as the Phi Beta Kappa Society oration in 1824; his 4th of July oration at Worcester, Massachusetts; his eulogy to John Quincy Adams in 1848; his speech that saved Mount Vernon, «The Character of Washington», delivered 137 times from 1856-1860; and his Gettysburg Oration, delivered just prior to Lincoln’s illustrious Gettysburg Address – Everett is seen as a transformational figure. The book concludes that while unknown to most Americans, Everett’s rhetoric of idealism, optimism, sentimentality, and conciliation provided the rising nation – America – with its sense of identity and its core principles.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Richard A. Katula is Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Katula received his Ph.D. in rhetorical studies at the University of Illinois. He is the author or co-author of three other books, the most recent of which is A Synoptic History of Classical Rhetoric, 3rd Ed. (2003). He has also written and produced an award-winning documentary, The Gettysburg Address: A Speech for the Ages (2000). Professor Katula is a two-time Fulbright Scholar to Greece, and is currently the director of a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop entitled, «The American Lyceum: The Rhetoric of Idealism, Opportunity, and Abolition». (www.americanlyceum.neu.edu). Professor Katula is a frequent guest on radio and television programs on subjects such as political rhetoric and presidential debates.


«Thanks to Richard A. Katula’s superb book, an altogether fitting and proper consequence of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday observance will be the rediscovery of the man who gave the other speech at the dedication of Gettysburg’s national cemetery. Edward Everett – statesman, educator, and orator – thus emerges in the twenty-first century as the nineteenth century knew him to be, an important figure in American history. And with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War fast approaching, his star should long continue to rise.» (Howard Coffin, distinguished historian of the 19th century, Civil War author and preservationist)
«Richard A. Katula brilliantly discusses the other orator at Gettysburg. Edward Everett, as the author makes abundantly clear, was a statesman in his own right. His service as an administrator, ambassador, and orator of the day added luster to nineteenth century American democracy. Anyone interested in the middle period of our history should read this book.» (Frank J. Williams, Founding Chair of the Lincoln Forum, former Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court)