Vol. 11 (2022)

Striving for Reconciliation? An Analysis of Redressive Facework in North American petitions to the king (1764-75)

Elisabetta Cecconi
University of Florence

Published 2022-12-23


  • Petitions to the King,
  • North American Colonies,
  • Reconciliation,
  • Redressive Facework,
  • Social Identities


This paper analyses the mitigating strategies used in North American petitions to King George III in order to minimize the face threatening potential inherent in the colonists’ requests for redress of their grievances. Drawing together models from speech-act, politeness and relational theories, the study aims at establishing the complex facework dynamics deriving from a clash of reality paradigms between the inhabitants of the colonies and the British government. Results reveal an ambiguous attitude on the part of petitioners who, while striving for reconciliation, venture into face attacks which ultimately reveal their contrasting views on the issue of the American dependence on Britain.


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