How to attract and hold an audience

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QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. Make an outline, or brief, of the contents of this chapter.

2. Revise the introduction to any of your written addresses, with the teachings of this chapter in mind.

3. Give two original examples of the power of suggestion as you have observed it in each of these fields: (a) advertising; (b) politics; (c) public sentiment.

4. Give original examples of suggestive speech, illustrating two of the principles set forth in this chapter.

5. What reasons can you give that disprove the general contention of this chapter?

6. What reasons not already given seem to you to support it?

7. What effect do his own suggestions have on the speaker himself?

8. Can suggestion arise from the audience? If so, show how.

9. Select two instances of suggestion in the speeches found in the Appendix.

10. Change any two passages in the same, or other, speeches so as to use suggestion more effectively.

11. Deliver those passages in the revised form.

12. Choosing your own subject, prepare and deliver a short speech largely in the suggestive style.

CHAPTER XXIII


INFLUENCING BY ARGUMENT

Common sense is the common sense of mankind. It is the product of common observation and experience. It is modest, plain, and unsophisticated. It sees with everybody's eyes, and hears with everybody's ears. It has no capricious distinctions, no perplexities, and no mysteries. It never equivocates, and never trifles. Its language is always intelligible. It is known by clearness of speech and singleness of purpose.

George Jacob Holyoake, Public Speaking and Debate.

The very name of logic is awesome to most young speakers, but so soon as they come to realize that its processes, even when most intricate, are merely technical statements of the truths enforced by common sense, it will lose its terrors. In fact, logic[25] is a fascinating subject, well worth the public speaker's study, for it explains the principles that govern the use of argument and proof.

Argumentation is the process of producing conviction by means of reasoning. Other ways of producing conviction there are, notably suggestion, as we have just shown, but no means is so high, so worthy of respect, as the adducing of sound reasons in support of a contention.

Since more than one side of a subject must be considered before we can claim to have deliberated upon it fairly, we ought to think of argumentation under two aspects: building up an argument, and tearing down an argument; that is, you must not only examine into the stability of your structure of argument so that it may both support the proposition you intend to probe and yet be so sound that it cannot be overthrown by opponents, but you must also be so keen to detect defects in argument that you will be able to demolish the weaker arguments of those who argue against you.

We can consider argumentation only generally, leaving minute and technical discussions to such excellent works as George P. Baker's "The Principles of Argumentation," and George Jacob Holyoake's "Public Speaking and Debate." Any good college rhetoric also will give help on the subject, especially the works of John Franklin Genung and Adams Sherman Hill. The student is urged to familiarize himself with at least one of these texts.

The following series of questions will, it is hoped, serve a triple purpose: that of suggesting the forms of proof together with the ways in which they may be used; that of helping the speaker to test the strength of his arguments; and that of enabling the speaker to attack his opponent's arguments with both keenness and justice.

TESTING AN ARGUMENT

I. The Question Under Discussion

1. Is it clearly stated?

(a) Do the terms of statement mean the same to each

disputant? (For example, the meaning of the term "gentleman" may not
be mutually agreed upon.)

(b) Is confusion likely to arise as to its purpose?

2. Is it fairly stated?

(a) Does it include enough?

(b) Does it include too much?

(c) Is it stated so as to contain a trap?

3. Is it a debatable question?

4. What is the pivotal point in the whole question?

5. What are the subordinate points?

II. The Evidence

1. The witnesses as to facts

(a) Is each witness impartial? What is his relation to the


subject at issue?

(b) Is he mentally competent?

(c) Is he morally credible?

(d) Is he in a position to know the facts? Is he an


eye-witness?

(e) Is he a willing witness?

(f) Is his testimony contradicted?

(g) Is his testimony corroborated?

(h) Is his testimony contrary to well-known facts or general
principles?

(i) Is it probable?

2. The authorities cited as evidence

(a) Is the authority well-recognized as such?

(b) What constitutes him an authority?

(c) Is his interest in the case an impartial one?

(d) Does he state his opinion positively and clearly?

(e) Are the non-personal authorities cited (books, etc.)

reliable and unprejudiced?

3. The facts adduced as evidence

(a) Are they sufficient in number to constitute proof?

(b) Are they weighty enough in character?

(c) Are they in harmony with reason?

(d) Are they mutually harmonious or contradictory?

(e) Are they admitted, doubted, or disputed?

4. The principles adduced as evidence

(a) Are they axiomatic?

(b) Are they truths of general experience?

(c) Are they truths of special experience?

(d) Are they truths arrived at by experiment?

Were such experiments special or general?
Were the experiments authoritative and conclusive?

III. The Reasoning

1. Inductions

(a) Are the facts numerous enough to warrant accepting the


generalization as being conclusive?

(b) Do the facts agree only when considered in the


light of this explanation as a conclusion?

(c) Have you overlooked any contradictory facts?

(d) Are the contradictory facts sufficiently explained when
this inference is accepted as true?

(e) Are all contrary positions shown to be relatively


untenable?

(f) Have you accepted mere opinions as facts?

2. Deductions

(a) Is the law or general principle a well-established one?

(b) Does the law or principle clearly include the fact you
wish to deduce from it, or have you strained the inference?

(c) Does the importance of the law or principle warrant so


important an inference?

(d) Can the deduction be shown to prove too much?

3. Parallel cases

(a) Are the cases parallel at enough points to warrant an


inference of similar cause or effect?

(b) Are the cases parallel at the vital point at issue?

(c) Has the parallelism been strained?

(d) Are there no other parallels that would point to a


stronger contrary conclusion?

4. Inferences

(a) Are the antecedent conditions such as would make the
allegation probable? (Character and opportunities of the accused, for
example.)

(b) Are the signs that point to the inference either clear

or numerous enough to warrant its acceptance as fact?

(c) Are the signs cumulative, and agreeable one with the other?

(d) Could the signs be made to point to a contrary conclusion?

5. Syllogisms

(a) Have any steps been omitted in the syllogisms?
(Such as in a syllogism in enthymeme.) If so, test any such by
filling out the syllogisms.

(b) Have you been guilty of stating a conclusion that really


does not follow? (A non sequitur.)

(c) Can your syllogism be reduced to an absurdity?


(Reductio ad absurdum.)

QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. Show why an unsupported assertion is not an argument.

2. Illustrate how an irrelevant fact may be made to seem to support an argument.

3. What inferences may justly be made from the following?

During the Boer War it was found that the average Englishman did not measure up to the standards of recruiting and the average soldier in the field manifested a low plane of vitality and endurance. Parliament, alarmed by the disastrous consequences, instituted an investigation. The commission appointed brought in a finding that alcoholic poisoning was the great cause of the national degeneracy. The investigations of the commission have been supplemented by investigations of scientific bodies and individual scientists, all arriving at the same conclusion. As a consequence, the British Government has placarded the streets of a hundred cities with billboards setting forth the destructive and degenerating nature of alcohol and appealing to the people in the name of the nation to desist from drinking alcoholic beverages. Under efforts directed by the Government the British Army is fast becoming an army of total abstainers.

The Governments of continental Europe followed the lead of the British Government. The French Government has placarded France with appeals to the people, attributing the decline of the birth rate and increase in the death rate to the widespread use of alcoholic beverages. The experience of the German Government has been the same. The German Emperor has clearly stated that leadership in war and in peace will be held by the nation that roots out alcohol. He has undertaken to eliminate even the drinking of beer, so far as possible, from the German Army and Navy.—Richmond Pearson Hobson, Before the U.S. Congress.

4. Since the burden of proof lies on him who attacks a position, or argues for a change in affairs, how would his opponent be likely to conduct his own part of a debate?

5. Define (a) syllogism; (b) rebuttal; (c) "begging the question;" (d) premise; (e) rejoinder; (f) sur-rejoinder; (g) dilemma; (h) induction; (i) deduction; (j) a priori; (k) a posteriori; (l) inference.

6. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to smoke tobacco, because to do so is contrary to best medical opinion. My physician has expressly condemned the practise, and is a medical authority in this country.

7. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to swear profanely, because it is wrong. It is wrong for the reason that it is contrary to the Moral Law, and it is contrary to the Moral Law because it is contrary to the Scriptures. It is contrary to the Scriptures because it is contrary to the will of God, and we know it is contrary to God's will because it is wrong.

8. Criticise this syllogism:

MAJOR PREMISE: All men who have no cares are happy.

MINOR PREMISE: Slovenly men are careless.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, slovenly men are happy.

9. Criticise the following major, or foundation, premises:

All is not gold that glitters.

All cold may be expelled by fire.

10. Criticise the following fallacy (non sequitur):

MAJOR PREMISE: All strong men admire strength.


MINOR PREMISE: This man is not strong.

CONCLUSION: Therefore this man does not admire strength.

11. Criticise these statements:

Sleep is beneficial on account of its soporific qualities.

Fiske's histories are authentic because they contain accurate accounts of American history, and we know that they are true accounts for otherwise they would not be contained in these authentic works.

12. What do you understand from the terms "reasoning from effect to cause" and "from cause to effect?" Give examples.

13. What principle did Richmond Pearson Hobson employ in the following?

What is the police power of the States? The police power of the Federal Government or the State—any sovereign State—has been defined. Take the definition given by Blackstone, which is:

The due regulation and domestic order of the Kingdom, whereby the inhabitants of a State, like members of a well-governed family, are bound to conform their general behavior to the rules of propriety, of neighborhood and good manners, and to be decent, industrious, and inoffensive in their respective stations.

Would this amendment interfere with any State carrying on the promotion of its domestic order?

Or you can take the definition in another form, in which it is given by Mr. Tiedeman, when he says:

The object of government is to impose that degree of restraint upon human actions which is necessary to a uniform, reasonable enjoyment of private rights. The power of the government to impose this restraint is called the police power.

Judge Cooley says of the liquor traffic:

The business of manufacturing and selling liquor is one that affects the public interests in many ways and leads to many disorders. It has a tendency to increase pauperism and crime. It renders a large force of peace officers essential, and it adds to the expense of the courts and of nearly all branches of civil administration.

Justice Bradley, of the United States Supreme Court, says:

Licenses may be properly required in the pursuit of many professions and avocations, which require peculiar skill and training or supervision for the public welfare. The profession or avocation is open to all alike who will prepare themselves with the requisite qualifications or give the requisite security for preserving public order. This is in harmony with the general proposition that the ordinary pursuits of life, forming the greater per cent of the industrial pursuits, are and ought to be free and open to all, subject only to such general regulations, applying equally to all, as the general good may demand.

All such regulations are entirely competent for the legislature to make and are in no sense an abridgment of the equal rights of citizens. But a license to do that which is odious and against common right is necessarily an outrage upon the equal rights of citizens.

14. What method did Jesus employ in the following:

Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field; how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

15. Make five original syllogisms[26] on the following models:

Major Premise: He who administers arsenic gives poison. Minor Premise: The prisoner administered arsenic to the victim. Conclusion: Therefore the prisoner is a poisoner.


Major Premise: All dogs are quadrupeds. Minor Premise: This animal is a biped. Conclusion: Therefore this animal is not a dog.

16. Prepare either the positive or the negative side of the following question for debate: The recall of judges should be adopted as a national principle.

17. Is this question debatable? Benedict Arnold was a gentleman. Give reasons for your answer.

18. Criticise any street or dinner-table argument you have heard recently.

19. Test the reasoning of any of the speeches given in this volume.

20. Make a short speech arguing in favor of instruction in public speaking in the public evening schools.

21. (a) Clip a newspaper editorial in which the reasoning is weak. (b) Criticise it. (c) Correct it.

22. Make a list of three subjects for debate, selected from the monthly magazines.

23. Do the same from the newspapers.

24. Choosing your own question and side, prepare a brief suitable for a ten-minute debating argument. The following models of briefs may help you:

DEBATE

Resolved: That armed intervention is not justifiable on the part of any nation to collect, on behalf of private individuals, financial claims against any American nation.[27]



Brief of Affirmative Argument

First speaker—Chafee

Armed intervention for collection of private claims from any American
nation is not justifiable, for

1. It is wrong in principle, because

(a) It violates the fundamental principles of international law for a

very slight cause

(b) It is contrary to the proper function of the State, and

(c) It is contrary to justice, since claims are exaggerated.

Second speaker—Hurley

2. It is disastrous in its results, because

(a) It incurs danger of grave international complications

(b) It tends to increase the burden of debt in the South American

republics

(c) It encourages a waste of the world's capital, and

(d) It disturbs peace and stability in South America.

Third speaker—Bruce

3. It is unnecessary to collect in this way, because

(a) Peaceful methods have succeeded

(b) If these should fail, claims should be settled by The Hague
Tribunal

(c) The fault has always been with European States when force has been


used, and

(d) In any case, force should not be used, for it counteracts the


movement towards peace.


Brief of Negative Argument

First speaker—Branch

Armed intervention for the collection of private financial claims
against some American States is justifiable, for

1. When other means of collection have failed, armed intervention


against any nation is essentially proper, because

(a) Justice should always be secured

(b) Non-enforcement of payment puts a premium on dishonesty

(c) Intervention for this purpose is sanctioned by the best


international authority

(d) Danger of undue collection is slight and can be avoided entirely by


submission of claims to The Hague Tribunal before intervening.

Second speaker—Stone

2. Armed intervention is necessary to secure justice in tropical
America, for

(a) The governments of this section constantly repudiate just debts

(b) They insist that the final decision about claims shall rest with

their own corrupt courts

(c) They refuse to arbitrate sometimes.

Third speaker—Dennett

3. Armed intervention is beneficial in its results, because

(a) It inspires responsibility

(b) In administering custom houses it removes temptation to revolutions

(c) It gives confidence to desirable capital.

Among others, the following books were used in the preparation of the arguments:

N. "The Monroe Doctrine," by T.B. Edgington. Chapters 22-28.

"Digest of International Law," by J.B. Moore. Report of Penfield of

proceedings before Hague Tribunal in 1903.

"Statesman's Year Book" (for statistics).

A. Minister Drago's appeal to the United States, in Foreign

Relations of United States, 1903.

President Roosevelt's Message, 1905, pp. 33-37.

And articles in the following magazines (among many others):

"Journal of Political Economy," December, 1906.

"Atlantic Monthly," October, 1906.

"North American Review," Vol. 183, p. 602.

All of these contain material valuable for both sides, except those marked "N" and "A," which are useful only for the negative and affirmative, respectively.

Note:—Practise in debating is most helpful to the public speaker, but if possible each debate should be under the supervision of some person whose word will be respected, so that the debaters might show regard for courtesy, accuracy, effective reasoning, and the necessity for careful preparation. The Appendix contains a list of questions for debate.

25. Are the following points well considered?

The Inheritance Tax is Not a Good Social Reform Measure

A. Does not strike at the root of the evil

1. Fortunes not a menace in themselves A fortune of $500,000 may
be a greater social evil than one of $500,000,000

2. Danger of wealth depends on its wrong accumulation and use

3. Inheritance tax will not prevent rebates, monopoly,
discrimination, bribery, etc.

4. Laws aimed at unjust accumulation and use of wealth furnish the

true remedy.

B. It would be evaded

1. Low rates are evaded

2. Rate must be high to result in distribution of great fortunes.

26. Class exercises: Mock Trial for (a) some serious political offense; (b) a burlesque offense.


FOOTNOTES:

[25] McCosh's Logic is a helpful volume, and not too technical for the beginner. A brief digest of logical principles as applied to public speaking is contained in How to Attract and Hold an Audience, by J. Berg Esenwein.

[26] For those who would make a further study of the syllogism the following rules are given: 1. In a syllogism there should be only three terms. 2. Of these three only one can be the middle term. 3. One premise must be affirmative. 4. The conclusion must be negative if either premise is negative. 5. To prove a negative, one of the premises must be negative.

Summary of Regulating Principles: 1. Terms which agree with the same thing agree with each other; and when only one of two terms agrees with a third term, the two terms disagree with each other. 2. "Whatever is affirmed of a class may be affirmed of all the members of that class," and "Whatever is denied of a class may be denied of all the members of that class."

[27] All the speakers were from Brown University. The affirmative briefs were used in debate with the Dartmouth College team, and the negative briefs were used in debate with the Williams College team. From The Speaker, by permission.



CHAPTER XXIV



INFLUENCING BY PERSUASION

She hath prosperous art


When she will play with reason and discourse,

And well she can persuade.

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

Him we call an artist who shall play on an assembly of men as a master on the keys of a piano,—who seeing the people furious, shall soften and compose them, shall draw them, when he will, to laughter and to tears. Bring him to his audience, and, be they who they may,—coarse or refined, pleased or displeased, sulky or savage, with their opinions in the keeping of a confessor or with their opinions in their bank safes,—he will have them pleased and humored as he chooses; and they shall carry and execute what he bids them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on Eloquence.

More good and more ill have been effected by persuasion than by any other form of speech. It is an attempt to influence by means of appeal to some particular interest held important by the hearer. Its motive may be high or low, fair or unfair, honest or dishonest, calm or passionate, and hence its scope is unparalleled in public speaking.

This "instilment of conviction," to use Matthew Arnold's expression, is naturally a complex process in that it usually includes argumentation and often employs suggestion, as the next chapter will illustrate. In fact, there is little public speaking worthy of the name that is not in some part persuasive, for men rarely speak solely to alter men's opinions—the ulterior purpose is almost always action.

The nature of persuasion is not solely intellectual, but is largely emotional. It uses every principle of public speaking, and every "form of discourse," to use a rhetorician's expression, but argument supplemented by special appeal is its peculiar quality. This we may best see by examining

The Methods of Persuasion

High-minded speakers often seek to move their hearers to action by an appeal to their highest motives, such as love of liberty. Senator Hoar, in pleading for action on the Philippine question, used this method:

What has been the practical statesmanship which comes from your ideals and your sentimentalities? You have wasted nearly six hundred millions of treasure. You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their harvest bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind. You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture. Your practical statesmanship which disdains to take George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or the soldiers of the Revolution or of the Civil War as models, has looked in some cases to Spain for your example. I believe—nay, I know—that in general our officers and soldiers are humane. But in some cases they have carried on your warfare with a mixture of American ingenuity and Castilian cruelty.

Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the garment of the American and to welcome him as a liberator, who thronged after your men, when they landed on those islands, with benediction and gratitude, into sullen and irreconcilable enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries cannot eradicate.

Mr. President, this is the eternal law of human nature. You may struggle against it, you may try to escape it, you may persuade yourself that your intentions are benevolent, that your yoke will be easy and your burden will be light, but it will assert itself again. Government without the consent of the governed—authority which heaven never gave—can only be supported by means which heaven never can sanction.

The American people have got this one question to answer. They may answer it now; they can take ten years, or twenty years, or a generation, or a century to think of it. But will not down. They must answer it in the end: Can you lawfully buy with money, or get by brute force of arms, the right to hold in subjugation an unwilling people, and to impose on them such constitution as you, and not they, think best for them?

Senator Hoar then went on to make another sort of appeal—the appeal to fact and experience:

We have answered this question a good many times in the past. The fathers answered it in 1776, and founded the Republic upon their answer, which has been the corner-stone. John Quincy Adams and James Monroe answered it again in the Monroe Doctrine, which John Quincy Adams declared was only the doctrine of the consent of the governed. The Republican party answered it when it took possession of the force of government at the beginning of the most brilliant period in all legislative history. Abraham Lincoln answered it when, on that fatal journey to Washington in 1861, he announced that as the doctrine of his political creed, and declared, with prophetic vision, that he was ready to be assassinated for it if need be. You answered it again yourselves when you said that Cuba, who had no more title than the people of the Philippine Islands had to their independence, of right ought to be free and independent.

George F. Hoar.

Appeal to the things that man holds dear is another potent form of persuasion.

Joseph Story, in his great Salem speech (1828) used this method most dramatically:

I call upon you, fathers, by the shades of your ancestors—by the dear ashes which repose in this precious soil—by all you are, and all you hope to be—resist every object of disunion, resist every encroachment upon your liberties, resist every attempt to fetter your consciences, or smother your public schools, or extinguish your system of public instruction.

I call upon you, mothers, by that which never fails in woman, the love of your offspring; teach them, as they climb your knees, or lean on your bosoms, the blessings of liberty. Swear them at the altar, as with their baptismal vows, to be true to their country, and never to forget or forsake her.

I call upon you, young men, to remember whose sons you are; whose inheritance you possess. Life can never be too short, which brings nothing but disgrace and oppression. Death never comes too soon, if necessary in defence of the liberties of your country.

I call upon you, old men, for your counsels, and your prayers, and your benedictions. May not your gray hairs go down in sorrow to the grave, with the recollection that you have lived in vain. May not your last sun sink in the west upon a nation of slaves.

No; I read in the destiny of my country far better hopes, far brighter visions. We, who are now assembled here, must soon be gathered to the congregation of other days. The time of our departure is at hand, to make way for our children upon the theatre of life. May God speed them and theirs. May he who, at the distance of another century, shall stand here to celebrate this day, still look round upon a free, happy, and virtuous people. May he have reason to exult as we do. May he, with all the enthusiasm of truth as well as of poetry, exclaim, that here is still his country.—Joseph Story.

The appeal to prejudice is effective—though not often, if ever, justifiable; yet so long as special pleading endures this sort of persuasion will be resorted to. Rudyard Kipling uses this method—as have many others on both sides—in discussing the great European war. Mingled with the appeal to prejudice, Mr. Kipling uses the appeal to self-interest; though not the highest, it is a powerful motive in all our lives. Notice how at the last the pleader sweeps on to the highest ground he can take. This is a notable example of progressive appeal, beginning with a low motive and ending with a high one in such a way as to carry all the force of prejudice yet gain all the value of patriotic fervor.

Through no fault nor wish of ours we are at war with Germany, the power which owes its existence to three well-thought-out wars; the power which, for the last twenty years, has devoted itself to organizing and preparing for this war; the power which is now fighting to conquer the civilized world.

For the last two generations the Germans in their books, lectures, speeches and schools have been carefully taught that nothing less than this world-conquest was the object of their preparations and their sacrifices. They have prepared carefully and sacrificed greatly.

We must have men and men and men, if we, with our allies, are to check the onrush of organized barbarism.

Have no illusions. We are dealing with a strong and magnificently equipped enemy, whose avowed aim is our complete destruction. The violation of Belgium, the attack on France and the defense against Russia, are only steps by the way. The German's real objective, as she always has told us, is England, and England's wealth, trade and worldwide possessions.

If you assume, for an instant, that the attack will be successful, England will not be reduced, as some people say, to the rank of a second rate power, but we shall cease to exist as a nation. We shall become an outlying province of Germany, to be administered with that severity German safety and interest require.

We are against such a fate. We enter into a new life in which all the facts of war that we had put behind or forgotten for the last hundred years, have returned to the front and test us as they tested our fathers. It will be a long and a hard road, beset with difficulties and discouragements, but we tread it together and we will tread it together to the end.

Our petty social divisions and barriers have been swept away at the outset of our mighty struggle. All the interests of our life of six weeks ago are dead. We have but one interest now, and that touches the naked heart of every man in this island and in the empire.

If we are to win the right for ourselves and for freedom to exist on earth, every man must offer himself for that service and that sacrifice.

From these examples it will be seen that the particular way in which the speakers appealed to their hearers was by coming close home to their interests, and by themselves showing emotion—two very important principles which you must keep constantly in mind.

To accomplish the former requires a deep knowledge of human motive in general and an understanding of the particular audience addressed. What are the motives that arouse men to action? Think of them earnestly, set them down on the tablets of your mind, study how to appeal to them worthily. Then, what motives would be likely to appeal to your hearers? What are their ideals and interests in life? A mistake in your estimate may cost you your case. To appeal to pride in appearance would make one set of men merely laugh—to try to arouse sympathy for the Jews in Palestine would be wasted effort among others. Study your audience, feel your way, and when you have once raised a spark, fan it into a flame by every honest resource you possess.

The larger your audience the more sure you are to find a universal basis of appeal. A small audience of bachelors will not grow excited over the importance of furniture insurance; most men can be roused to the defense of the freedom of the press.

Patent medicine advertisement usually begins by talking about your pains—they begin on your interests. If they first discussed the size and rating of their establishment, or the efficacy of their remedy, you would never read the "ad." If they can make you think you have nervous troubles you will even plead for a remedy—they will not have to try to sell it.

The patent medicine men are pleading—asking you to invest your money in their commodity—yet they do not appear to be doing so. They get over on your side of the fence, and arouse a desire for their nostrums by appealing to your own interests.

Recently a book-salesman entered an attorney's office in New York and inquired: "Do you want to buy a book?" Had the lawyer wanted a book he would probably have bought one without waiting for a book-salesman to call. The solicitor made the same mistake as the representative who made his approach with: "I want to sell you a sewing machine." They both talked only in terms of their own interests.

The successful pleader must convert his arguments into terms of his hearers' advantage. Mankind are still selfish, are interested in what will serve them. Expunge from your address your own personal concern and present your appeal in terms of the general good, and to do this you need not be insincere, for you had better not plead any cause that is not for the hearers' good. Notice how Senator Thurston in his plea for intervention in Cuba and Mr. Bryan in his "Cross of Gold" speech constituted themselves the apostles of humanity.


Exhortation is a highly impassioned form of appeal frequently used by the pulpit in efforts to arouse men to a sense of duty and induce them to decide their personal courses, and by counsel in seeking to influence a jury. The great preachers, like the great jury-lawyers, have always been masters of persuasion.

Notice the difference among these four exhortations, and analyze the motives appealed to:

Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! Let not a traitor live!—Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

Strike—till the last armed foe expires,


Strike—for your altars and your fires,
Strike—for the green graves of your sires,

God—and your native land!

Fitz-Greene Halleck, Marco Bozzaris.

Believe, gentlemen, if it were not for those children, he would not come here to-day to seek such remuneration; if it were not that, by your verdict, you may prevent those little innocent defrauded wretches from becoming wandering beggars, as well as orphans on the face of this earth. Oh, I know I need not ask this verdict from your mercy; I need not extort it from your compassion; I will receive it from your justice. I do conjure you, not as fathers, but as husbands:—not as husbands, but as citizens:—not as citizens, but as men:—not as men, but as Christians:—by all your obligations, public, private, moral, and religious; by the hearth profaned; by the home desolated; by the canons of the living God foully spurned;—save, oh: save your firesides from the contagion, your country from the crime, and perhaps thousands, yet unborn, from the shame, and sin, and sorrow of this example!

Charles Phillips, Appeal to the jury in behalf of Guthrie.

So I appeal from the men in silken hose who danced to music made by slaves and called it freedom, from the men in bell-crown hats who led Hester Prynne to her shame and called it religion, to that Americanism which reaches forth its arms to smite wrong with reason and truth, secure in the power of both. I appeal from the patriarchs of New England to the poets of New England; from Endicott to Lowell; from Winthrop to Longfellow; from Norton to Holmes; and I appeal in the name and by the rights of that common citizenship—of that common origin, back of both the Puritan and the Cavalier, to which all of us owe our being. Let the dead past, consecrated by the blood of its martyrs, not by its savage hatreds, darkened alike by kingcraft and priestcraft—let the dead past bury its dead. Let the present and the future ring with the song of the singers. Blessed be the lessons they teach, the laws they make. Blessed be the eye to see, the light to reveal. Blessed be tolerance, sitting ever on the right hand of God to guide the way with loving word, as blessed be all that brings us nearer the goal of true religion, true republicanism, and true patriotism, distrust of watchwords and labels, shams and heroes, belief in our country and ourselves. It was not Cotton Mather, but John Greenleaf Whittier, who cried:

Dear God and Father of us all,

Forgive our faith in cruel lies,
Forgive the blindness that denies.

Cast down our idols—overturn


Our Bloody altars—make us see
Thyself in Thy humanity!

Henry Watterson, Puritan and Cavalier.

Goethe, on being reproached for not having written war songs against the French, replied, "In my poetry I have never shammed. How could I have written songs of hate without hatred?" Neither is it possible to plead with full efficiency for a cause for which you do not feel deeply. Feeling is contagious as belief is contagious. The speaker who pleads with real feeling for his own convictions will instill his feelings into his listeners. Sincerity, force, enthusiasm, and above all, feeling—these are the qualities that move multitudes and make appeals irresistible. They are of far greater importance than technical principles of delivery, grace of gesture, or polished enunciation—important as all these elements must doubtless be considered. Base your appeal on reason, but do not end in the basement—let the building rise, full of deep emotion and noble persuasion.




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