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Harold Macmillan's "Winds of Change" Speech: A Case Study in the Rhetoric of Policy Change

From: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 3, Number 4, Winter 2000
pp. 555-575 | 10.1353/rap.2000.0012


A political leader who decides to change policy confronts a heterogeneous audience comprised of old supporters who may feel betrayed and potential new supporters who may be suspicious of the leader's motives. Analysis of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's "Winds of Change" speech in 1960 on British relations with Africa reveals techniques used when a leader confronts this rhetorically challenging situation.