Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

B. F. McClerren


Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to analyze the speech "Lincoln, The First American" given on February 12, 1913 by Franklin Baldwin Wiley.


It was hypothesized that a rhetorical analysis of "Lincoln, The First American" would give significant rhetorical and historical insights into Lincoln, into Franklin Baldwin Wiley, and into the times of both men.


This study primarily relied on the written works of Franklin Baldwin Wiley. Appendix A contains a copy of the original transcript of the speech "Lincoln, The First American." This speech was selected because of its rhetorical-historical value.


This paper applied a methodology created by B. F. McClerren and demonstrated in his rhetorical analysis: "The Rhetoric of Abortion: a Weaverian Method of Analysis," (unpublished manuscript, Eastern Illinois University, 1989).

This methodology provided for three basic identifications: emotive language, modes of argument, and philosophical frameworks.


The hypothesis was supported. The analysis revealed that Franklin Baldwin Wiley and Abraham Lincoln artistically marshaled language and argument to responsibly and clearly indicate their respective philosophical frameworks.

The following suggestions for further study using the same methodology are offered:

1. Study the speeches of Franklin Baldwin Wiley on other subjects.

2. Study the rhetoric and philosophy of other speakers and writers during the time of Franklin Baldwin Wiley.

3. Study the rhetoric and philosophy of other speakers and writers during the time of Lincoln.

4. Study and compare the rhetoric and philosophy of early national, later national, and contemporary speakers.