President Theodore Roosevelt Proclamation and First Inaugural Address: the Use of Ethos and Pathos

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President Theodore Roosevelt
Proclamation and First Inaugural Address: The Use of Ethos and Pathos

Lisa Weber
ENG 530.020
Dr.Mollick
December 5, 2012

Inaugural addresses usually follow a farewell address given by the outgoing President. In the book Presidents Creating Presidency: Deeds Done in Words, Campbell and Jamieson’s chapter on “Farewell Addresses” explain that “[a] farewell address is an anticipatory ritual; the address is delivered days, sometimes weeks, before an outgoing president “lays down” the office, an event that does not occur until a successor is sworn in” (308). This was not the case for Theodore Roosevelt for there was no pending farewell speeches planned. Vice-President Roosevelt became president after the unexpected assassination of President William McKinley on September 14, 1901. In Campbell and Jamieson’s chapter on “Special Addresses: The Speeches of Ascendant Vice Presidents,” they state that in history there have been only nine times where a vice president moved up to president (57). Eight of these incidents involved a president being assassinated and one involved impeachment. Campbell and Jamieson also acknowledge that “[t]he death of any person creates the need for a unique form of symbolic response: the eulogy” and that “need for a eulogy even more urgent” (57). They affirm that “[t]he community is threatened because it has lost its leader; the citizenry needs reassurance that communal institutions will survive” (57). The unexpected death of McKinley left Roosevelt with the responsibility of comforting the nation. Roosevelt was able to reassure the citizens through the process of his First Proclamation. This proclamation could be seen as his first inaugural address to the nation, with the second official inaugural address coming on March 4, 1905. In this paper we will be looking at two different appeals, pathos and ethos, being used in two totally different addresses. In order to comprehend the use of these rhetorical approaches we need to look at some important information behind the man Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of many words as well as ideals. He was a well educated man; more than some of the presidents before him and those who came after him. While attending college his first year studies consisted of: Classical Literature, Greek (Plato), Latin (Cicero, Horace), German Language studies, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. In his sophomore year he studied Rhetoric, History, while taking the following electives: German IV, German V, French IV, Natural History III and Natural History VIII. The junior year brought him to studying six themes in English, Philosophy with elective courses in German VIII, Italian I, Philosophy VI, Natural History I, and Natural History III. Roosevelt’s last year consisted of classes in the four forensic themes in English, Italian II, Political Economy II, Natural History IV, and Natural History VI. With all these courses any person could see how strongly educated Roosevelt was and how knowledgeable he was in all areas of academia. With his classes in English and Rhetoric he became eloquent with his linguistics allowing him to compose his own speeches and books. In Speeches of the American Presidents, Janet Podell and Steven Anzovin believed that Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Jefferson were naturally gifted in writing (355). They assert that Roosevelt saw himself as a “professional man of letters, and his total output of words, which numbers in the tens of millions, dwarfs that of any other president” (355). Through research, many individuals believe that Roosevelt was the main author of all his speeches. Podell and Anzovin believe that Roosevelt had been known to have “dictate[d] them in outline form” and that he used his “confidants such as Henry Cabot Lodge” to look at his speeches and other messages before presenting them (355). In Politics as Performance Art: The Body English of...
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