Rhetoric in Obama's Speech

Topics: Rhetoric, Barack Obama, President of the United States Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: April 20, 2012
Five cannons of rhetoric in Obama’s speech
Without a doubt, rhetoric is almost always linked to the political field and the individuals who operate within it. For hundreds of years, presidents have been utilizing rhetoric to make their points and to outline their positions on important issues before the nation. President Obama certainly used many forms of rhetoric and rhetorical devices during his long journey that eventually ended at the steps of the White House, and he did not stop there. During his inaugural speech, President Obama put to use many, if not all, of the methods that are commonly taught at our institutions.

Traditionally, rhetoric is based on creative arguments and analyzing, but in the early twentieth century people gave more importance to scientific proofs which led to decline of rhetoric. Somewhere the key component was missing, but that’s when public speaking came along in the United States. People became more informative of public speaking courses, and rhetoric was re-introduced with principal of five cannons. (Bizzell & Herzberg 1183-1184). To begin, the five parts of the rhetorical cannon: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery, all played a part in the grand scheme of President Obama’s speech. Next, the President appealed to the audience’s emotions and made points logically, all while maintaining his own credibility. Finally, the audience and venue came together to create a space and atmosphere that was hospitable for the President’s speech. Although some political analysts suggest that his speech fell flat and failed to inspire the American people, President Obama’s use of all aspects of rhetoric came together to form a complete, concise, and, in my opinion, an effective speech. Starting from the basics with the first piece of the cannon, invention, it is clear that politicians put their ideas together for speeches prior to standing in front of a podium to deliver them. President Obama had a lot of ground to cover...
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