Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Roy C. McCall

First Committee Member

Edward S. Betz


Suspended in the State Capitol at Sacramento is a portrait of a man under whose name appears the following inscription, "The man whose matchless oratory saved California to the Union". The same name identifies a statue standing in the Congressional Hall of Fame, placed there by the State of California in memory of one of two Californians "most illustrious for their historic renown". The life and speeches of a man who achieved such renown and who earned such an immortal epitaph to his eloquence should be worthy of study by a speech student. The purpose of this thesis is to present such a study of the speech attributes of Thomas Starr King. The study is in two parts: first, a Background Synopsis, or biographical precis, which highlights Starr King's speech training, intrinsic worth, speeches, setting and success; and secondly, a Speech Commentary on Starr King's speech preparation, presentation, arrangement, argument and style. Starr King's vari-form speeches and permeating personality defy isolated period treatment. Therefore, while a California viewpoint is maintained, this study brings Starr King's whole life accomplishments into range.





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