Thesis ID: CBB353546662

A Close Reading and Concept-Oriented Rhetorical and Literary Analysis of Margaret Sanger's Eugenics-Based Discourse (2016)


Margaret Sanger, a well-known nurse, women’s rights and birth control activist, and sex educator is known for her influence on the birth control movement and the establishment of what is now known as Planned Parenthood, a national organization that has assisted women with their sexual and reproductive health for decades. Sanger, one of the most influential advocates for women’s self-empowerment, manipulated popular eugenics-based language constructions of the time to gain elite followers for her birth control movement. Although many historical, theological, feminist, and social scientific scholars have studied Sanger’s underlying eugenic agenda, Sanger’s deliberate use of specific rhetorical strategies have not yet been analyzed. Through a close reading and concept-oriented rhetorical analysis of Sanger’s 1921 speech, “The Morality of Birth Control,” and 1922 publication, The Pivot of Civilization, this thesis will explore Sanger’s deliberate and predetermined use of antithesis, scapegoating, and ethos to promote her birth control movement.

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Authors & Contributors
Heller, Geneviève
Dumoulin, Jean-François
Jeanmonod, Gilles
Gasser, Jacques
Bachrach, Susan D.
Weiss, Sheila Faith
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Medical History
History of Psychiatry
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Distributed by the University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC)
Claremont Graduate University
Arizona State University
University of Colorado at Boulder
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Birth control; contraception; sterilization
National Socialism
Public health
Rhetorical analysis
Sanger, Margaret
Rüdin, Ernst
United States
Connecticut (U.S.)
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late

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