Abraham Lincoln is renowned as an impressive orator and writer. Historians have long studied his life and writings, some dedicating their whole careers to this task. However, few commentators have focused upon how studying the persuasive techniques utilized by Lincoln in his speeches can help lawyers to improve their own persuasive writing and speaking. Lincoln was an experienced litigator, and over the course of his legal career, he tried a voluminous number of cases, was involved in several appeals before the United States Supreme Court, and argued numerous times before the Illinois Supreme Court. These experiences helped Lincoln to cultivate various manners of persuading judges and juries. Similarly, one major goal of Lincoln's speeches, as with any politician, was to persuade listeners to agree with the positions that he took on important issues of the day. Upon close examination and deconstruction, one can discern several persuasive techniques that Lincoln used effectively in his speeches. These techniques include repetition, alliteration, metaphor, theme, and affirmatively dealing with adverse arguments, to name a few. Therefore, Lincoln's speeches provide attorneys with excellent examples of persuasive techniques that attorneys can use to improve their legal arguments.
Loudenslager, Michael W.
"What We Can Learn About the Art of Persuasion from Candidate Abraham Lincoln: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Three Speeches That Propelled Lincoln into the Presidency,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 64:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol64/iss2/6