Megan Morton

Deliberative rhetoric and colonial identity in New England, 1632-1646: Miantonomi, Roger Williams, Samuel Gorton, and Edward Winslow

Megan Rose Morton

  • School: Purdue University
  • Degree: PhD
  • Date: 2009 pp: 163
  • Advisor: Bergmann, Linda S.
  • Committee Members: Bross, Kristine; Schneider, Ryan; Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 70/11, May 2010
  • Keywords:: Deliberative rhetoric, Winslow, Edward, Miantonomi, Williams, Roger, Gorton, Samuel
  • Subjects: English Literature, Rhetoric
  • ProQuest Document Number: 1914974711
  • ISBN: 9781109488463
  • UMI Number: AAT 3379688


This project posits the beginnings of a theory of colonial deliberative rhetoric, arguing that marginalized figures in colonial New England invented unique rhetorical strategies in order to address the exigencies of colonialism, including multiple levels of power, diverse audiences, and articulation of a shared future good. I argue that deliberation, or arguments based on the future good, provided a route for marginal figures to gain power in colonial New England via transatlantic or cross-cultural communication, as well as an alternative resolution for disputes that otherwise were likely to end in violence. This project considers texts composed by or based upon the rhetorical strategies of four individuals: Miantonomi, sachem of the Narragansett tribe; Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island; Samuel Gorton, outspoken religious opponent of the Massachusetts Bay; and Edward Winslow, former Plymouth governor and representative of the United Colonies of New England before Parliament. By examining religious and political conflicts, as well as their attempted resolutions, through a rhetorical lens, this project argues that marginal figures contributed significantly to the development of New England’s transatlantic identity. Moreover, this project seeks to expand histories of rhetoric; in particular, this dissertation makes contributions by noting the contributions of Native speakers to early colonial rhetorics.