ABSTRACT

This study features two speeches by African American abolitionists Robert B. Forten and James Forten Jr., who in the 1830s addressed the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Their orations simultaneously appeal to conventional nineteenth-century, white, upper- and middle-class notions of womanhood while drawing upon arguments that more typically inform male abolitionist rhetoric. In addition, both men emphasize traditional racial differences while seeking to establish links with their listeners that transcend these differences. The development of a powerful collective sense of identity, achieved through the constitutive quality of their arguments, forms the speeches' best opportunity to serve abolition.

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