Abstract

This study features the contributions of nineteenth-century activist William Whipper to the African American rhetorical tradition. Through analyses of six texts written between 1828 and 1837, I detail Whipper's dedication to open civic discourse; his preference for appeals to reason; his Christian ethos; his appropriation of the rhetoric of white writers, which functions in service of his positive portrayal of black culture; and his mistrust of arguments based on expediency. I also demonstrate how these characteristics shape–and, to a certain extent, evolve in–Whipper's subsequent writings. The conclusion locates Whipper's rhetorical principles in the broader context of nineteenth-century African American rhetoric.

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