Darina Shtrakhman

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Darina Shtrakhman

Political Science
Other Honors: Santirocco College Alumni Society Research Grant

CAS, 2012

The Anglo-American Prime Minister: Winston Churchill as a Scholar of Gibbon and Lincoln

It is said that no great line, no great speech, is truly original. Even Winston Churchill, considered one of the most spectacular orators of all time, can be said to have stood on the shoulders of rhetorical and literary giants. A devoted scholar of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, Churchill incorporated Lincoln’s themes and style into his own wartime speeches. Furthermore, his boyhood obsession with Edward Gibbon's classic "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" taught him to explain complicated historical events in dramatic, sweeping narratives. Taken together, Lincoln and Gibbon profoundly influenced Churchill's rhetoric. My research explores how an American hero and an English historian shaped Churchill’s speeches, particularly Churchill's ability to sway American public opinion and convince even the most steadfast isolationists to enter World War II.