Deliberative rhetoric

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Deliberative rhetoric (sometimes called legislative oratory) is a rhetorical device that juxtaposes potential future outcomes to communicate support or opposition for a given action or policy.[1] In deliberative rhetoric, an argument is made using examples from the past to predict future outcomes in order to illustrate that a given policy or action will either be harmful or beneficial in the future.[2] It differs from deliberative democracy, which is a form of governmental discourse or institution that prioritizes public debate.

In Rhetoric (4th century BCE), Aristotle wrote that deliberative rhetoric is relevant in political debate[2] since the "political orator is concerned with the future: it is about things to be done hereafter that he advises, for or against."[3] According to Aristotle, political orators make an argument for a particular position on the grounds that the future results will be in the public's best interest. He wrote that a politician "aims at establishing the expediency or the harmfulness of a proposed course of action; if he urges its acceptance, he does so on the ground that it will do good; if he urges its rejection, he does so on the ground that it will do harm."[3]


  1. ^ Burton, Gideon O., "Deliberative Oratory", Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric, retrieved 28 March 2013
  2. ^ a b Nordquist, Richard (April 30, 2016), What Are the 3 Branches of Rhetoric?, retrieved September 24, 2016
  3. ^ a b Aristotle, Rhetoric, translated by Roberts, W. Rhys, retrieved September 24, 2016