ThankYouForArguingby Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing, Revised and Updated Edition: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion

Adding rhetoric to a literature syllabus can spark something surprising in students.

Few people can say that John Quincy Adams changed their lives. Those who can are wise to keep it to themselves. Friends tell me I should also stop prating about my passion for rhetoric, the 3,000-year-old art of persuasion.

John Quincy Adams changed my life by introducing me to rhetoric.


Years ago, I was wandering through Dartmouth College’s library for no particular reason, browsing through books at random, and in a dim corner of the stacks I found a large section on rhetoric. A dusty, maroon-red volume attributed to Adams sat at eye level. I flipped it open and felt like an indoor Coronado. Here lay treasure. (more…)