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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1969. Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts.


Copyright 1963, the author. Used by permission.


This study takes a look at Harry S. Truman’s various Rose Garden Speeches and focuses on three specific characteristics in the area of speech studies. First this study afforded the opportunity to examine specific examples of epideictic speaking done by a contemporary figure.This study represents one of if not the first investigation of the Rose Garden Speeches of any of the presidents. Second, the importance of these speeches was expressed by Mr. Truman in an interview with the author of this thesis given April 12th, 1963, in which the president stated that the Rose Garden speeches were “One of the most important duties of the boss of the United States”.The third characteristic is, these speeches represent expression of thoughts and ideas of President Truman without the aid of ghost writers.

In this study, the author sought to answer three basic questions: 1) What was the nature of Truman’s preparation and delivery of his Rose Garden Speeches? In which the study concludes that Mr. Truman’s preparation and delivery was adequate for the occasion and allowed him freedom in expressing his thoughts, while allowing these speeches to be examples of his true speech composition, without the aid of ghost writers. 2) Do Truman’s Rose Garden Speeches conform to the characteristics of epidictic speeches? In which the author discovers through his study that while they do conform for the most part they do in several instances did not completely conform to type. 3) Did Truman use persuasive techniques in his Rose Garden Speeches? The author concluded that yes Mr. Truman demonstrated the effective use of ethical and emotional proof in all three forms of speeches of courtesy in attempting to fulfill his purposes. Logical proof played a lesser role in the persuasion of Mr. Truman’s Rose Garden Speeches than did ethical and emotional proof.These speeches were used by Mr. Truman to secure support for himself and the Government while carrying out the responsibilities required by the occasion.

Advisor: Dr. Donald O. Olson