A case study of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, can inform nineteenth-century North American rhetorical history by exposing the interplay of rhetorical theory and practice in an educational setting during the antebellum period. Evidence of this interplay emerges in the subject matter of students' quarterly exhibition and commencement orations and of their literary society presentations from 1823 to 1845. When considered as a curricular whole, this evidence suggests a symbiotic relationship between the primarily moralistic and belletristic discourse favored by the college's curriculum and the more broadly civic judicial and deliberative discourse favored by its literary societies.

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