Title

Rhetoric and judgment in the constitutional ratification debate of 1787–1788: An exploration in the relationship between theory and critical practice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1992

Publication Title

Quarterly Journal of Speech

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

The relationship between the practice of public rhetoric and the nature of political judgment is complex. The essay analyzes a pivotal constitutive controversy, the public Constitutional ratification debate of 1787–1788, and uncovers conflicting objects and standards of judgment. The essay demonstrates that Federalists advocated a “formal” and “spectator?oriented” model of judgment while Anti?Federalists depicted a “substantive” and “actor?oriented” model. The concluding section of the essay explores certain theoretical implications (rhetorical distance, interest time, and prudence) that emerge from the constitutive rhetoric of the ratification debate.

ISSN

0033-5630