Notwithstanding the widespread assumption that Aristotle forges a better relationship among rhetoric, the emotions, and political morality than Cicero, I contend that Cicero, not Aristotle, offers a more relevant account of the relationship among these terms. I argue that, by grounding his account of emotional appeals in the art of rhetoric, Aristotle does not evade the moral problems originating in emotional manipulation. Moreover, Aristotle's approach to emotional appeals in politics is, compared to Cicero's, static, unable to adapt to new political circumstances. I suggest that Cicero's approach to the rhetorical emotions is more acceptable to a modern audience than Aristotle's because it is ethically based while also responsive to political realities. Cicero accommodates emotional appeals to circumstance based on his belief in decorum as a moral principle. Further, I show that emotional manipulation in Cicero is not as problematical as it initially appears.
- © 2013 by The International Society for the History of Rhetoric. All rights reserved.