Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

Committee Chair

Joseph Zompetti


This study examines seven Republican rhetors who utilize motherhood as a rhetorical strategy in speeches between the years of 1972 and 2020. Specifically, speeches, newsletters, and debate transcripts are analyzed using four theoretical lenses to curate an archetype of the “Republican Mother” – a concept constructed of an amalgamation of the historic “mother of the republic” from the nation’s conception and the ideological values assigned to women within the Republican party, such as traditional gender and spousal roles. I argue that it is the unique combination of womanhood, motherhood, and Republicanism that creates a unique rhetorical strategy seen in these rhetors. Previous scholarship has explored the various aspects of the components of this archetype, but there is a gap in creating a timeline demonstrating how the republican mother has evolved, in the modern day, into a Tea Party Republican mother by evolving through multiple depictions. I examine these rhetors to compile the traits reflective of the Republican Mother. Ultimately, I conclude that there are similarities in ideology from Christian religious beliefs, a pattern of the feminine style of rhetoric in the form of using personal experiences to relate to listeners, regressive depictions of gender with regard to spousal and gender roles, and mirrors of Foucault’s notion of the Victorian Christian era wherein sexuality was repressed as a result of religious beliefs. Implications from this study and areas for future research are presented.


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