Complete Story

BIZZELL, Patricia

Fall 2006, 36:4, pages 377-398

Frances Willard, Phoebe Palmer, and the Ethos of the Methodist Woman Preacher

Abstract: This article attempts to analyze the effable quality of ethos in a case study about Frances Willard, contending that she succeeded with conservative middle-class audiences by invoking the ethos of the Methodist woman preacher, which she may have learned from her mentor Phoebe Palmer, Methodism encouraged women's moral activism, and Palmer, foreshadowing Willard's agenda, worked for many causes, all the while maintaining a genteel True-Womanly persona.  Willard testified to Palmer's spiritual influence on her, and her speaking style also reflected Palmer's blend of intense commitment, spiritual restraint, refined appearance, sound logic, and seemingly artless eloquence.  Both women's rhetoric came to seem dated in their final years, yet both left lasting legacies of social change in their communities.

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