While George Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric is widely recognized as one of the most influential treatises in the history of rhetoric, little critical attention has been paid to one of his most famous sermons: "The Nature, Extent, and Importance of the Duty of Allegiance." Delivered on December 12, 1776, "being the fast day appointed by the King on account of the rebellion in America," this sermon exemplifies a key contention in Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric—that the species of rhetoric "calculated to influence the will, and persuade us to a certain conduct" is "that artful mixture" of "the argumentative and the pathetic incorporated together" (2–4). Taking its cue from the importance of style in Campbell's conception of rhetoric, this essay examines the significant role played by style in both the argumentative and pathetic dimensions of Campbell's sermon and reminds us that rhetorical theories have historically been conceived as means of managing social tensions and the uncertainties within which they arise.
- rhetorical criticism
- persuasion homiletics
- George Campbell
- American revolutionary war
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