The Columbian Orator

Front Cover
Caleb Bingham, David W. Blight
NYU Press, 1998 - History - 262 pages

An 1797 publication of Enlightenment era thought, read by virtually every American schoolboy in the early 19th century

First published in 1797, The Columbian Orator helped shape the American mind for the next half century, going through some 23 editions and totaling 200,000 copies in sales. The book was read by virtually every American schoolboy in the first half of the 19th century. As a slave youth, Frederick Douglass owned just one book, and read it frequently, referring to it as a "gem" and his "rich treasure."

The Columbian Orator presents 84 selections, most of which are notable examples of oratory on such subjects as nationalism, religious faith, individual liberty, freedom, and slavery, including pieces by Washington, Franklin, Milton, Socrates, and Cicero, as well as heroic poetry and dramatic dialogues. Augmenting these is an essay on effective public speaking which influenced Abraham Lincoln as a young politician. As America experiences a resurgence of interest in the art of debating and oratory, The Columbian Orator--whether as historical artifact or contemporary guidebook--is one of those rare books to be valued for what it meant in its own time, and for how its ideas have endured. Above all, this book is a remarkable compilation of Enlightenment era thought and language that has stood the test of time.

 

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Contents

Preface
3
General Instructions for Speaking
5
Oration on Eloquence
27
Speech in Congress 1789
30
Speech of a Roman General
32
Exhortation on Temperance in Pleasure
33
Judahs Plea for Benjamin before Joseph
35
Plea in Behalf of Thomas Muir
37
Address to the People of the United States
129
Dialogue on the Choice of Business for Life
132
Speech of a French General
135
Speech in the British Parliament 1777
137
Dialogue between a Schoolmaster and School Committee
138
Speech in the British Parliament 1770
145
On the general Judgment Day
147
On the Works of Creation and Providence
150

On the starry Heavens
38
Paper a Poem
40
Speech before the Roman Senate
41
Dialogue between Duellist Savage and Mercury
43
Speech of an Indian Chief
46
On the Creation of the World
47
Lines spoken by a little Boy
49
Speech in the British Parliament 1766
50
Scene from the Farce of Lethe
52
Eulogy on Dr Franklin
55
Epilogue to Addisons Cato
59
SelfConceit an Address by a small Boy
60
Dialogue between Howard and Lester
62
Christs Crucifixion
63
The Wonders of Nature
66
Dialogue on Physiognomy
68
Oration at the Festival of Gratitude
70
Address to the President of the United States
73
Presidents Answer
74
The oppressive Landlord a Dialogue
76
Speech in the British parliament 1770
82
On the Day of Judgment
84
Christ triumphant over the apostate Angels
86
Slaves in Barbary a Drama in two Acts
88
Speech in the British Parliament 1770
104
Plea before a Roman Court
107
Dialogue on Cowardice and Knavery
110
Speech in the British Parliament
114
Extract from an Oration against Catiline
115
Description of the first American Congress
116
Speech of a French General to his Army
118
Reflections over the Grave of a young Man
120
Speech of a Roman General
125
Speech in the British Parliament 1784
127
Speech in the British Parliament 1778
151
The Conjurer a Dialogue
153
Speech in the British Parliament 1775
161
Speech of the Caledonian General
162
Modern Education a Dialogue
165
On the Existence of God a Sermon
170
The Dignity of Human Nature
177
Infernal Conference
178
Speech in the British Parliament 1777
187
On the Day of Judgment
189
The dissipated Oxford Student
191
Speech in Congress on the British Treaty
201
Oration on Independence July 4 1796
204
General Description of America a Poem
207
Dialogue between a Master and Slave
209
Speech in the Irish Parliament
212
Scene from the Tragedy of Tamerlane
216
Speech in the British Parliament
220
The Last Day
222
Dialogue on Loquacity
225
American Sages
228
Speech in the British Parliament 1777
229
Scene from the Tragedy of Cato
232
Oration delivered at Boston July 4 1794
234
Dialogue between a White Man and an Indian
235
Oration pronounced at Boston July 4 1796
238
Dialogue between Edward and Harry
240
David and Goliath
242
Oration on the Powers of Eloquence
246
Dialogue on Civilization
252
Oration on the Manumission of Slaves
256
A Forensic Dispute
257
Oration delivered at Boston March 5th 1780
262
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About the author (1998)

Professor of History and Black Studies at Amherst College, David W. Blight is the author of Fredrick Douglass' Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee and editor of the Bedford Books editions of Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave and W. E. B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk.

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