rhetorical analysis

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Cold War, United States Pages: 5 (2059 words) Published: October 30, 2013

Unity and World Peace
After the Vietnam War, Americans had become annoyed and conflicted on the subjects of war, as well as their government. The American culture was changing as people began to realize how ‘dishonest’ and ‘untrustworthy’ some of our politicians had become. During this period society’s faults and weaknesses also became more apparent. In the midst of this changing environment, in 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected. On January 20th, 1961 John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the president of the United States before delivering one of the most famous and iconic inaugural addresses in our countries history. On that night, in disregard to the heavy snow that had fallen the night before and of the bitter cold in the air, President Kennedy stepped in front of the podium, wearing only a suit. As Kennedy began to deliver his inauguration, he began to introduce the new era of change simply by informing his audience of the trials ahead, their solutions, and all while promoting patriotism and international support. By doing so, John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech became a passionate call to action. It was the new president’s call upon his fellow citizens of America, and also of the world, to unite and achieve world peace. Kennedy’s use of rhetoric is amazing, and used to almost perfection. His use of logos, pathos and ethos are just what his audience needed to hear, and there’s really no better way he could have done it. Though faith in political leaders of the era had previously plummeted, Kennedy addressed the Americans’ who sat and observed as he delivered his speech- as well as the thousands of others watching or listening elsewhere- as a credible, passionate, humble and equal party. In the opening line of his speech Kennedy states “…we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change.”(pg. 1) Throughout President Kennedy’s speech, he uses the terms “we”, “our” and “us.” By using these terms, as well as the phrase “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (pg. 1) Kennedy showed the American people-who may not have been very easily convinced at the time- that he also had a role to play in this change. It was this language that appealed to the trustworthy nature of the people to which he spoke. The President was aware that as a citizen himself, he too needed to put forth effort. It is clear that Kennedy was emphasizing that a global alliance of “North and South, East and West” was vital in ensuring a better, more peaceful and more prosperous life for the next generation as well as his own. Kennedy`s famous line “ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”, (pg. 1) is another phrase emphasizing his common role with other American citizens in the quest for change. He is informing the nation that the change requires that the people be “united, (for) there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. (And that) Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.” (pg. 1) This phrase is a call to action of its own, simply hidden in a call to act upon a bigger cause. Kennedy is pointing out that the only way for change can happen is if all of the people contribute to the cause under a united front. Kennedy also addresses the idea of becoming a “new alliance for progress—(that exist) to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty.” (pg. 1) This statement shows Kennedy’s compassion, a characteristic that most Americans possess themselves or at least hope to find in their leader. In JFK’s Inaugural Address, he builds up the sense of patriotism and pride in his audience as he calls the nation to support their...
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