The Story

      2019 Newest Book: The Tyranny of Public Discourse:

“I do not seek applause, nor to amuse the people, I want to convince them.” —Abraham Lincoln

Advance Praise for The Tyranny of Public Discourse:

"I knew for sure the six elements of a proposition really worked when I started receiving student writing assignments. Not every student was at the same sophistication level, but each had significantly improved persuasive writing skills. Writing a six element proposition takes away the 'I feel' and focuses on the 'I know.'"
Jon Parrott, High School U.S. History Teacher, Urbandale, Iowa

"In this timely book, Hirsch and Van Haften show that a careful application of Euclid's principles can help students, public officials, and others fashion persuasive arguments"
William T. Gormley, Jr., Professor of Public Policy & Government, Georgetown University


With our current political system in gridlock and the conversation of radicals reduced to bullets, these authors offer what might be the best system of persuasive writing compiled in the twenty-first century, except that it was actually invented hundreds of years ago. Hirsch and Van Haften advise readers to suspend what they already think they know about the subject in order to learn a new way of convincing people of your argument.

Abraham Lincoln taught himself Euclid’s geometrical system and applied it to rhetoric. Lincoln noticed how Thomas Jefferson’s work in the Declaration of Independence utilized the same geometrical logic with clearly convincing results, and then duplicated the formula to write the Gettysburg address.

This compact book goes the extra mile, printed in color on glossy paper for added emphasis, to show how the six elements form triangles of persuasive writing. Written in simple, easy-to-grasp fashion, this book is recommended for anyone in the legal profession, political arena, or marketing business. Whether you are a writer, student, or a professional trying to get your point across, you will find this little treasure indispensable.

The Tyranny of Public Discourse

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Conventions
  • Introduction

  • Lesson 1. Enunciation: Why Are We Here? [Includes a Given and Sought]
  • Lesson 2. Exposition: What Needs to be Investigated?
  • Lesson 3. Specification: The Hypothesis
  • Lesson 4. Construction: Array the evidence
  • Lesson 5. Proof: Confirm the Proposed Inference
  • Lesson 6. Conclusion: What was Demonstrated?
  • Lesson 7. The Method is the Message
  • Lesson 8. What's in a Name?
  • Lesson 9. Letter to Ulysses S. Grant
  • Lesson 10. Lincoln's Farewell Address
  • Lesson 11. The Investigation
  • Lesson 12. Writing
  • Lesson 13. General Principles
  • Lesson 14. Credibility is Everything
  • Lesson 15. Collaborate
  • Lesson 16. Freedom
  • Lesson 17. Demarcation Exercises
  • Lesson 18. Hints for Demarcation Exercises
  • Lesson 19. Suggested Demarcations
  • Lesson 20. A Language of Science for Human Issues

  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

       Even more timely in 2019:

       2011 David Hirsch National Archives II video presentation mentions the state of public discourse. It took from 2011 to 2019 to flesh out.

       2016 Dan Van Haften seven minute interview on Public Radio.

2011 Rick Kogan Interview of Dan Van Haften.

2010 Virtual Book Signing™ at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop.

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop comment November 18, 2016: "Last day of the Lincoln Forum, and, hands down, this is the most popular new book." Purchase Structure of Reason books.

                     In color, with precise diagrams and explanation.

This [Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason
2010 hardbound; 2015 paperback] is the first book to systematically analyze the structure and craft of Lincoln's speech-making." John Stauffer, Harvard University English and History Professor.

Professor Stauffer says, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason is "…one of the most stunningly original works on Abraham Lincoln to appear in years…"

John Stauffer wrote the Afterword for Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. See page 250.

"Lincoln and the Structure of Reason offers a wholly new angle on Lincoln's brilliance."
—James M. Cornelius, Former Curator, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

Authors David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften demonstrate that Lincoln’s study of plane geometry provided the structure for Abraham Lincoln's great speeches. Though Lincoln’s fascination with geometry is well documented, the general assumption was that it was little more than mental calisthenics to sharpen Lincoln's thinking. It was much more. Lincoln embedded the ancient structure of geometric, six-element demonstration into the Gettysburg Address, the Cooper Union speech, the First and Second Inaugurals, his legal practice, and much of his substantive post-1853 communication.

Their first book reveals the six-element structure of the Cooper Union speech which helped make Lincoln president. It reveals the Declaration of Independence has the same structure. The book also demonstrates how the structure of the legal system itself played an important role in Lincoln’s greatness. Fact anchored, logical persuasion is unleashed. It took over 150 years for Lincoln's use of geometric method in speeches and writings to be revealed. Lincoln's writing and speaking structure naturally improves persuasive skills, and critical thinking. Deal better with the world itself. Harness the horsepower of fact-based logic, and scientific reasoning.

   Email a Comment