The role of character in public moral argument: Henry ward Beecher and the Brooklyn scandal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The narrative perspective assumes that people may argue using premises based upon stories and dramas that have correspondence to their life experience. A central element of these stories is the characterization of their protagonists. This paper explores the importance of character by analyzing how it was utilized by the principals in the adultery trials of Henry Ward Beecher. It reveals how characterizations that were created in the literary realm were transferred to the arguments centering around the ministerial role as represented by Beecher. The successful transfer completely altered the audience’s interpretations of the events in question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

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