Title

Women as Political Persuader: A Study of Ella T. Grasso's Campaign for Governor

Date of Award

8-1-1975

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to examine the persuasive strategies within the campaign rhetoric of Ella Grasso who won the governorship of Connecticut in 1974. In the analysis of the persuasion, a study of her political campaign within the context of a small industrial state is included. As an aid to understanding, the study briefly reviewed the concerns of Connecticut, introduced members of both parties who were interested in the governorship, and showed how Ella Grasso got the nomination and party support.

The campaign rhetoric centered around the issues of taxation for revenue, the utility companies' billing practices, energy, and the state's social problems. The strategies used to convince the voters that she was the best candidate for the office were image building, identification, avoidance, polarization, and counter rhetoric.

The study does show that because she was a woman, she needed to give special attention to handling the stereotypes of women. In addition, she was frequently called upon to state her stand on abortion and her campaign literature stressed her ability and competence in leadership.

While this study is broad in scope, it does show how one woman campaigned to win a high office.

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