The contested space of prudence in the 1874-1875 civil rights debate

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This essay examines how the rhetoric of Reconstruction congressional actors expressed divergent modes of political judgment with respect to the civil rights of African Americans. Through an interpretive analysis of the 1874-1875 civil rights debate, the essay contends that proponents and opponents enacted adverse norms of discursive practice and competing conceptions of equality. This conflict's discourse helped to bring about the separate but equal doctrine that guided race relations into the next century. This essay concludes that when studied as a contested space, prudence can reveal the evolution of a rhetorical culture and community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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