Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory: Delivered to the Classes of Senior and Junior Sophisters in Harvard University, Volume 1
Before becoming President of the United States, John Quincy Adams was a Harvard professor of language, rhetoric and oratory, with this book comprising his lectures.
Published in 1810 when Quincy Adams was in his forties, this work is a collection which demonstrates the breadth of knowledge which he passed to students eager to learn about the arts of speaking. The early lectures cover the basic principles of oratory and eloquence in the context of public speaking, and the origins of rhetoric as a celebrated art form in ancient Greece and Rome. It is clear that the author possesses an intense knowledge of the subject and its professional application.
Later on in the text are more specific lectures, such as the importance of perfecting oratory for the courtroom, and the personal qualities a good speaker should cultivate. Keeping tight control of one's emotions when speaking or debating with others, and delivering compelling lectures from the church pulpit, are also discussed at length. Although this material is well over 200 years old with much of the language archaic by modern standards, the ideas and principles espoused by Quincy Adams remain both relevant and important to students and those working in fields where speech is vital.