Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1958. Department of Speech and Dramatic Art.


Copyright 1958, the author. Used by permission.


This is an analysis of the means of persuasion used by Kenneth Wherry, Foster May, and George Norris in the 1942 Nebraska Senatorial campaign. Kenneth Wherry from Pawnee City, Nebraska, was a Republican, farmer, lawyer, merchant and mortician. Foster May from Omaha was a Democrat, radio news editor-broadcaster. Both men tried to win from eighty-one year old Senator George W. Norris, Independent, the Senate seat he was seeking for the sixth consecutive term.

The purpose of this study is to analyze the content of the speeches of the three Senatorial candidates to determine the means of persuasion each employed. In no way is it an attempt to establish an absolute causal relationship between the campaign speaking and the outcome of the 1942 Senatorial election. While campaign speaking is an important element influencing the outcome of political campaigns, as the extensiveness with which it is engaged in by candidates seeking office testifies, studies indicate that there is a variation of opinion concerning the importance of those factors which influence the voters. Due to these numerous factors, it is impossible to determine the exact degree to which the speaking alone determines the outcomes of the election.

Advisor: Dr. Leroy T. Laase