“The Checkers Speech”
It was the midst of the 1952 presidential campaign when the New York Post’s newspaper story came out accusing Senator Richard Nixon of having a secret political fund. This accusation caused Nixon to face the reality of virtually being dropped as the presidential candidate of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running mate. On September 23, 1952, Nixon sat down to address one of the largest television audiences in political history until Nixon’s 1960 debate with John F. Kennedy. While millions of American’s tuned into prime-time television, they sat and watched Senator Richard Nixon defend himself by delivering his influential and famous speech, which is known as his “Checkers Speech.” From the beginning of time, as seen in all political campaigns, the fight to win over the American public is mainly shown through these persuasive political speeches. In this particular speech, Nixon uses the art of rhetoric to persuade, manipulate, and gain the trust of his audience. By using the empowerment of the new medium of television, he uses this political tool to manipulate. He bares his heart out through his words, and gives himself credibility by portraying himself as an honest, family man with good character. These key elements of a rhetor such as gaining the audiences’ approval by their persona, tone, and structure in which they deliver their thesis. All of these are important for a political speaker, so it enables them to overpower the numerous accusations that come along with the campaigning. Richard Nixon was a former Navy marine, which then led him to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Two years later he became a member of the House Committee, and investigated an espionage case, which turned him into a national figure as well as a controversial one. After two terms he was elected into the U.S. Senate. The young Richard Nixon had only six years of a political background when Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated him as his running mate in the 1952...
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