Mourning for Logan

in A Nation of Speechifiers

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226180199
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226180212 | DOI:
Mourning for Logan

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In his 1774 speech, Logan, a Mingo Indian, argues that he had been an advocate for peace throughout the bloody French and Indian War. Logan's words were memorialized by Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), in which he praised Logan's speech as equal in eloquence and sentiment to anything produced by centuries of European civilization, including the speeches of Cicero and Demosthenes. The admiration elicited by the speech's final melancholy plea inspired editors to reprint it over and over again. This chapter examines Americans' fascination with Indian speeches by focusing on their role in schoolroom declamation and as reprinted in magazines. Print media such as schoolbooks and magazines made use of this oratory in such a way that readers learned that their singular capacity for remorse promised a new beginning for the United States. However, changes in literary portrayals of Indians gradually gave white readers the belief that they might supersede the Indians and even make them obsolete.

Keywords: Logan; Indians; eloquence; speeches; oratory; declamation; print media; United States; Thomas Jefferson

Chapter.  12422 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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