Log In | Account Info
Cart | Checkout
Rhetoric and the Republic, Rhetoric and the Republic, 0817315470, 0-8173-1547-0, 978-0-8173-1547-4, 9780817315474, , Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique, Rhetoric and the Republic, 0817381392, 0-8173-8139-2, 978-0-8173-8139-4, 9780817381394, , Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique, Rhetoric and the Republic, 0817357599, 0-8173-5759-9, 978-0-8173-5759-7, 9780817357597, , Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critiqu

Rhetoric and the Republic
Politics, Civic Discourse, and Education in Early America
Mark Garrett Longaker

E Book
2008. 288 pp.
11 Tables
Price:  $29.95 d
Quality Paper
2013. 288 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s

Casts a revealing light on modern cultural conflicts through the lens of rhetorical education.

Contemporary efforts to revitalize the civic mission of higher education in America have revived an age-old republican tradition of teaching students to be responsible citizens, particularly through the study of rhetoric, composition, and oratory. This book examines the political, cultural, economic, and religious agendas that drove the various—and often conflicting—curricula and contrasting visions of what good citizenship entails. Mark Garrett Longaker argues that higher education more than 200 years ago allowed actors with differing political and economic interests to wrestle over the fate of American citizenship. Then, as today, there was widespread agreement that civic training was essential in higher education, but there were also sharp differences in the various visions of what proper republic citizenship entailed and how to prepare for it.

Longaker studies in detail the specific trends in rhetorical education offered at various early institutions—such as Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania, and William and Mary—with analyses of student lecture notes, classroom activities, disputation exercises, reading lists, lecture outlines, and literary society records. These documents reveal an extraordinary range of economic and philosophical interests and allegiances—agrarian, commercial, spiritual, communal, and belletristic—specific to each institution. The findings challenge and complicate a widely held belief that early-American civic education occurred in a halcyon era of united democratic republicanism. Recognition that there are multiple ways to practice democratic citizenship and to enact democratic discourse, historically as well as today, best serves the goal of civic education, Longaker argues.

Rhetoric and the Republic illuminates an important historical moment in the history of American education and dramatically highlights rhetorical education as a key site in the construction of democracy.

Mark Garrett Longaker is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. His articles, book reviews, and essays have appeared in Rhetorica, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Kenneth Burke Journal, Written Communication, New England Quarterly, and College English.


I read this book with unqualified enthusiasm. Longaker’s work is extraordinarily well written, displays solid primary research, and substantially advances both our understanding of antebellum American rhetorical theory/pedagogy and our understanding of civic republicanism
—James Arnt Aune, author of Rhetoric and Marxism

Longaker’s book is clearly an important contribution to our understanding of the rhetorical education of the republican era. Setting aside the notion of a republican rhetorical monolith, he opens up a broad range of issues for future scholars to consider. Rhetoric and the Republic will be a standard text for those scholars to consult.”—Rhetorical Review

“Scholars of rhetoric will find this book engaging and informative, as will cultural and educational historians of the colonial era. It deserves close reading. Explanatory footnotes and a useful bibliography are additional merits of this extensively researched and carefully argued monograph.”—Journal of American History