School of Communication and the Arts


Master of Arts in Communication (MA)


Cecil Kramer


Suffrage, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage, Rhetoric, Communication, Kenneth Burke's Identification Theory




Throughout the women’s suffrage movement, rhetoric was used as a powerful tool of persuasion to convince men that women should have the right to vote. It was also used as a tool of persuasion to convince women to join the fight for suffrage. One of the most influential rhetoricians in the movement was suffragist, Carrie Chapman Catt, who was able to use both.

This study aims to determine how women’s suffrage leader, Carrie Chapman Catt, used persuasion through her speeches to win the 19th amendment. This study specifically investigates one speech to the all-male United States Congress and the other to an all-female suffrage group.

This study is a textual analysis that uses Kenneth Burke’s seven tactics of identification. Specifically, this study investigates when and how Carrie Chapman Catt changes her rhetorical speaking style using Aristotle’s three forms of proof: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). Following this, the results are compared to Genderlect theory to determine how Catt uses her rhetoric to appeal to both genders through gender differences in language.

These results suggest that Carrie Chapman Catt changes her rhetorical speaking style to identify with men and women differently to achieve suffrage for all.

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