Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Sandra J. Sarkela
Gray (David) Matthews
This dissertation provides a rhetorical analysis of the post-termination rhetoric produced in the book The Living Pulpit of the Christian Church shortly after the termination of the American Restoration Movement in 1866. The termination event consisted of two happenings in the same year, the death of the movement’s rhetorical leader Alexander Campbell and the end of the Civil War. While several rhetorical studies focus on Alexander Campbell, this work focuses on the management of his influence after he died as the Movement faced new rhetorical problems in the reconstruction postwar period. The Living Pulpit claimed to celebrate the Movement’s unity, but I uncover four distinct religious ideologies within the book. While each emerging leader rooted his ideology in Campbell’s constructs, each leader created new visions and competing strategies that eventually gave rise to sub-movements. First, W.K. Pendleton envisioned a celebration of Campbell’s work through associations in which the Movement would add to society through good works like education and humanitarian efforts. Second, Benjamin Franklin sought to arouse dissent regarding the current state of Christianity, thus creating a new inception period of the church as a militant army of strict biblical adherents seeking to correct the evil of all denominations. Third, Tolbert Fanning sought to perfect a Movement running after innovations and recognition through his apocalyptic vision of religious moral power overcoming the evil powers of the world. Last, Isaac Errett moved the Restoration’s efforts towards a future that was better than any notion of the past including the patterns and practices of the New Testament church. His progressive ideology allowed the Movement freedom to seek innovations and practice invention in a changing postwar American culture. These competing ideologies splintered Campbell’s American Restoration Movement, and I argue that once a rhetorical leader dies his strategies can become inceptions for new trajectories. These new trajectories move a people in particular directions that the rhetor would not travel, and are ideologies that the rhetor would not champion. Therefore, this work contributes to rhetorical study by displaying the effect of termination on the formed ideology of a social movement and how new leaders have new opportunities once the original rhetoric is effectively and persuasively co-opted.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Woodall, Jonathan Franklin, "The Post-Termination Rhetoric of the American Restoration Movement" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 863.