President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address

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President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Since President Abraham Lincoln’s famous second inaugural address nearly 150 years ago it has been a long standing tradition for the President’s inaugural address to present a somewhat ambiguous claim for world transformation and diplomacy. President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address is no different. It set forth President Bush’s ambitious vision of the United States’ role in advancing of freedom, liberty, and democracy worldwide “with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world” (para. 7). In order to persuade his audience to adhere to his arguably over ambiguous goal, President Bush uses a rhetoric strategy that blends elements of ethos and pathos with specific word choice to create emotionally and ethically charged diction in hopes of uniting the audience. He also relies on the assumption that the audience shares his views on religion, the role of God, and his interpretation of America’s ideals of freedom.

Because the task of ending tyranny is undeniably difficult, if not impossible, President Bush uses ethos and pathos along with carefully chosen diction to unite his audience and establish common ground so that they can see the goal from the same point of view and begin working together to accomplish it. He starts this early in his address by trying to establish a common history. In paragraph three he says, “At this… gathering, our duties are defined… by the history we have seen together.” He uses this technique of establishing a common history several more times within the next few paragraphs by referring to “the day of our Foundation,” “the mission that created our Nation,” and “the honorable achievements of our fathers.”

To further progress the establishment of common ground President Bush strives to create commonality in morals, ethics, values, and ideals. By presenting two radical opposites, tyrannical rule and “a union based on liberty,” President Bush causes the audience to make a “moral...
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