Style of language


The language of Alexander Stephens’ Cornerstone speech is formal and complex, which matches the seriousness of the topic and Stephens’ position as vice-president of the Confederacy. The phrasing sounds rather old-fashioned for today’s readers, which is indicative of the time when the speech was delivered.

When it comes to sentence length, Stephens uses mostly long and middle-length sentences to argue his views. For example, Stephens uses a very long sentence when he discusses what Thomas Jefferson and others who helped draft the constitution of the United States believed about the rights of African Americans: 

The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation o...

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