‘MTSU On the Record’ guest discusses the impact of...

‘MTSU On the Record’ guest discusses the impact of America’s greatest — and not-so-great — speakers

OThe words that have changed the United States and their authors were the subjects of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Perry Cotham, a lecturer in the Department of my Communication Studies, first aired Dec. 12 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and You can listen to their conversation above.

Cotham is the author of “American Rhetorical Excellence: 101 Public Addresses That Shaped the Nation’s History and Culture.”

Perry Cotham "American Rhetorical Excellence" coverCotham also includes examples of poor rhetoric from such historical figures as Father Charles Coughlin and U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

“Some of these demagogues start out espousing one point of view, and they’re not going very far with it,” said Cotham. “Then they begin to sort of throw out another point of view that gets some reception. But in time, enough intelligent people come along and say, ‘Wait a minute! Enough of this!’”

Among Cotham’s top 10 speeches are Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s address at the 1963 March on Washington, commonly referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.