Margaret Chase Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience”

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In the “Declaration of Conscience,” Margaret Chase Smith addresses the American public and the United States Senate during a time of political unrest. Communist accusations and a “national feeling of fear” has brought upon this speech. Even with an upcoming election, the Republican Party decides a freshman woman senator would speak to the public, an uncommon practice at the time . In this paper, I will argue that Margaret Chase Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” proves her credibility as a woman politician. Smith uses a masculine tone, simple diction, and repetition to prove to Americans and the Senate that she is a strong political figure.
Margaret Chase Smith began her political career when a woman in Congress was a rarity. She
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Firstly, she uses an unemotional tone to promote her credibility as a woman politician. Instead of using flowery language and going into a fit of hysteria, which the audience expected from a woman speaker, she used concise vocabulary and kept a level head. She speaks “briefly and simply” to also show the urgency of this crisis facing the nation. In addition, she states, “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” This shows the audience that she wants a Republican victory, but without using tactics of the Democrats. Margaret Chase Smith remains poised, proving this is not a fit of hysteria, which gains credibility from the American public.
Secondly, Margaret Chase Smith uses simple diction to help the audience understand her viewpoints and her ideals as a politician. She states, “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition.” Margaret Chase Smith does not want to hide behind eloquent language to confuse the American public into her believing her values. Instead, she uses common vocabulary and even warns the audience in her introduction of her speech. Because she uses this rhetorical strategy, the Americans feel that she is speaking only of the truth, creating confidence in her morality and a sense of credibility as a politician. Senator Smith then states, “I speak as

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