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"Let there be no vague fears about the outcome. I place full confidence in the sobriety and integrity of motive of the American people. I have profound belief in their ability to cure existing evils without disturbing their prosperity. I am convinced that we shall have more and more intelligent and unselfish representation of the people's interests: that political leadership will be tested more and more by the soundness of its counsel and the disinterestedness of its ambition.
"I believe that with an increasing proportion of true representation, with increasing discriminating public discussion, with the patient application of sound judgment to the consideration of public measures, and with the inflexible determination to end abuses and to purify the administration of government of self-interest, we shall realize a greater prosperity and a wider diffusion of the blessing of free government than we have hitherto been able to enjoy."
C. A MARKED DEGREE OF INTEREST
Finally, the attitude of the speaker toward his subject should be characterized by a marked degree of interest. I would say enthusiasm were I not aware that such a requirement is rather more than can be reasonably expected for all subjects and occasions. A given speaker may be enthusiastic in urging independence for the Phil
ippines, but very rightly feel much less intense when explaining the topography of the State of South Dakota-or even vice versa. Whatever the subject, however, and whatever the occasion, interest at least must be shown. The degree will naturally vary with the conditions and the speaker's inclinations, but it is impossible for an uninterested speaker to keep an audience attentive in the real sense.
From what has just been said it might appear that most men can speak effectively on only a very restricted number of topics. This is not the case. Our limited interests are in great part due to our limited knowledge. If Messrs. A, B and C are interested in astronomy, let us say, and Mr. D is not at all concerned about the subject, it is very probably because he knows nothing about it. To be sure, the person is rare who can experience a real hearty interest in everything he investigates. We are not all Lord Bacons, who, unless I am mistaken, took the whole of human knowledge as his province. But our capacity for interest in many things is greater than we commonly suppose. The fact is that most people. have certain material interests centering about food, raiment, shelter and health; and other more or less circumscribed interests of the spirit associated with entertainment, social intercourse and home. Owing to obsession by these, or to sheer
inertia, a great many people do not broaden their horizon. It is not that they are incapable of interest in the fields of art, literature, music, science, history, etc., but that they make no attempt to arouse it. Occasionally a student comes to me with the plaint that he cannot speak on any topic in an assigned list because he does not happen to be interested in any of them. He is partly right; he should not speak upon a topic in which he has no interest. But this student is often led to see that it might be well to acquire a new interest, and this alternative solution to his problem not infrequently produces a good speech.
If, therefore, occasion calls upon a person for an address on an unfamiliar topic which has not hitherto attracted his interest, he should not dismiss the opportunity before carefully examining the subject. It may open an alluring vista. He must be satisfied about that before speaking, however, for he is under the necessity of interesting his hearers, and he cannot hope to do that unless he is himself concerned. The greater the intensity of interest felt, whether due to personal associations in the field, to former research, or to new investigations, the more spirited will be the organization, the composition and the delivery. And this vitality, inspired by interest, goes far toward making a speech effective in its appeal.
With reference to the speaker's attitude toward his subject, this chapter has pointed out three things. First, he should show thorough familiarity with the material which he assumes to discuss. This familiarity is best acquired by personal experience in the field under consideration, but since that is usually impossible, the speaker should cover secondary sources of information in as exhaustive a manner as circumstances permit. By consulting a representative array of sources, he is able to select the best, most trustworthy material for his address. Secondly, it was urged that the speaker approach his subject in a spirit of fairness, which takes due note of the existence of conflicting views. He will thus be in a position to refute, to disarm criticism; and though he will, naturally, emphasize the position which he upholds, he should under no circumstances resort to deception, misrepresentation or any kind of trickery. It was further shown that the commercial slogan, "Honesty pays," applies to speaking as well as to business. Lastly, the speaker was advised of the necessity of showing a marked degree of interest in the subject he is presenting. The amount of interest will vary with subjects and conditions, but the nearer it approaches to enthusiasm in any given instance, the more in