James Harrington's new deliberative rhetoric: reflection of an anticlassical republicanism

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In this essay, I examine the changes effected by the English political theorist James Harrington (1611-77) in both classical deliberative (political) rhetoric and classical republicanism and the relationship between these changes. I argue here that the author of The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656) offers a model of deliberative rhetoric that is distict from the classical model: classical deliberative oratory was popular, but Harrington's vision of deliberative rhetoric was elitist; classical deliberative oratory made use of emotional apppeals, but Harrington's deliberative rhetoric excluded emotional appeals; and classical deliberative oratory was determined by the speaker's rhetorical knowledge and moral character, whereas Harrington's political rhetoric was regulated by a complex set of institutional procedures.

Keywords: James Harrington; The Commonwealth of Oceana; classical deliberative oratory; classical republicanism; deliberative (political) rhetoric; elitist

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tulane University.

Publication date: January 1, 1995

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