« AnteriorContinuar »
From an address built up in the manner suggested, the listener goes away not only with a definite message, but also with clear and definite reasons for believing it.
C. MEANS OF ELABORATION
Of equal importance with definite leading ideas is substantial material to support those ideas. Any address which consists of leading points elaborated with mere talk, no matter how brilliant the phrasing and diction, is open to the charge of being "thin." When we state that Browning understood the patriot, it is essential to bring to the attention of the audience his poems dealing with patriots; to indicate wherein and how he expresses the characteristic thoughts, moods and acts of the patriot. If we advance the idea that street-car advertising is relatively cheap, we must substantiate this claim by submitting rates, space, term of service, and numbers reached, in comparison with similar data for other forms of general advertising. Whatever point we advance we must "make good." As will be pointed out, there are several ways of making good, of substantiating, our points. Sometimes one means will suffice; again, a combination of two or three can be used to best advantage.
I. Specific Cases
It is safe to say that for convincing effect no one method of elaboration equals the presentation of a representative array of concrete cases in point. If, for instance, in discussing the topic, "England's Violation of Neutral Rights," the speaker states that she has interfered with United States mails, his strongest support for the contention would be the citation of specific seizures and detentions. The following passage from a contemporary speech by the Hon. Clyde H. Tavenner, of Illinois, in the House of Representatives gives a typical example of the telling use of specific cases. Mr. Tavenner is contending that the men back of the Navy League will profit by the League's propaganda.
"Now I come down to the officers of the Navy League to-day. The president of the league, Col. Robert M. Thompson, the gentleman who was unkind enough to threaten to sue me but not kind enough to do it [applause on the Democratic side], is chairman of the board of directors of the International Nickel Co., the business of which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been very much improved by the war.
'The directorate of the International Nickel Co. interlocks with that of the United States Steel Corporation, Edmund C. Converse sitting as a
director on both concerns. United States Steel controls the bulk of the steel industry in this country, and is capitalized for $1,512,000,000, while International Nickel controls the greater part of the nickel lands of the North American Continent, and is capitalized at $47,000,000.
"Col. Thompson, as president of the Navy League, was a happy selection indeed, because the steel, nickel, and copper interests, all of which will profit handsomely through war and preparation for war, interlock beautifully through him and his International Nickel Co. W. A. Clark, the Montana 'copper king,' is president of the Waclark Wire Co. and Col. Thompson is one of his directors on that corporation. Then, too, Col. Thompson is president of the New York Metal Exchange.
"Col. Thompson's International Nickel Co. also interlocks with the Midvale Steel & Ordnance Co., W. E. Corey being a director of International Nickel and president and director of the new Midvale corporation, which was organized recently for $100,000,000 especially to handle the growing war-trafficking trade, and is one of the largest war-trading firms in the United States. Mr. Corey only recently retired from the presidency of the Carnegie Steel Co. and from the board of directors of United States Steel. One of the underlying concerns of the new Midvale company is the Remington Arms Co., which has a contract to
manufacture 2,000,000 Enfield rifles for the British Government.
"The International Nickel Co. also interlocks with the Midvale concern through Ambrose Monell, who is president of the International Nickel Co. and a director of the Midvale Steel & Ordnance Co.
"Seward Prosser, another director of International Nickel, is one of the contributors to the funds of the Navy League which have been used to banquet Secretaries of the Navy and Members of Congress, hire speakers, and carry on the elaborate campaign for 'preparedness' which the Navy League has been carrying on most earnestly for the last 13 years, and which promises now to bear fruit in the form of staggering increases in Army and Navy appropriations.
"International Nickel also interlocks directly with the United States Navy Department, through W. H. Brownson, retired rear admiral, who is a director of the International Nickel Co. and on the pay roll of the Government at a salary of $6,000 a year, which is three-fourths full pay. 'Who's Who' for 1914-15 gives Admiral Brownson's address as 'Navy Department, Washington, D. C.' Admiral Brownson is, no doubt, of more value to the International Nickel Co. in Washington, where he comes into intimate contact with fellow naval officers, than he would be any place else."
An important point to note in the passage just
quoted is that Mr. Tavenner uses what I have termed a "representative array" of examples. One ought usually to cite at lease five or six typical cases; the number will depend, of course, upon one's success in a given investigation. But the speaker is cautioned against trying to support an important generalization with one or two instances, unless he can show that these are fairly typical.
II. Antecedent Probability
Another method of supporting a point is by elaborating on the basis of antecedent probability. If under certain conditions a certain thing has always happened, one may fairly prophesy that with the same or very similar conditions substantially the same thing will again occur. For example, if the "Solid South" has gone democratic for many years past, one may point to a similar outcome in the next election providing no new factor appears to offset antecedent probability. The speaker must always be cognizant of the possibility of this new factor.
It is possible to elaborate a point by showing an essential similarity between two things which are unlike in some respects. On the basis of this essential similarity we may presume that both will operate alike. For example, if we wished to show