Rhetorical Analysis of Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

Topics: Barack Obama, United States, Democratic Party Pages: 5 (2310 words) Published: April 12, 2011
Rhetorical Analysis of Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
The inaugural address, spoken by President Barack Obama, was largely written by the 27 year old Jon Favreau. “What is Required: The Price & Promise of Citizenship” captured the audience of the American people, with Obama’s natural ability to achieve praise without really saying anything. The country was told once again that we are in a crisis and that change is the answer. The speech teaches about Obama’s thoughts on common defense, and Americans are then assured that our country’s problems will be fixed, but that’s up to us, the people. The words spoken by Obama bring hope; “Obama’s aides have repeatedly referred to him as his own best speechwriter” through symbolism and slick wording, this speech did have some high points of persuasion. The speech also had its lows, which only could convince someone who knows little about politics or his views and past statements. As everyone in America knows, our country is in a crisis. The United States is at war with Iraqi and Afghani terrorist groups, and anyone that has followed Obama’s campaign knows he is all for pulling troops out of Iraq. The country’s economy is in bad shape; people are losing jobs and their homes and can’t pay for their own healthcare. Obama says, “These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.” This quote says that the people of this country need to accept that we are in crisis and that we have to lower our living standards to survive. Maybe buy fewer toys and go out to eat less; pinching and saving is what needs to be done. First of all this is definitely something people don’t want to here, they don’t want the blame put on them, they don’t want to have to change their lives. Also this is nothing new; you can’t persuade someone if you just restate what have been stated thousands of times. Obama does bring one new point to the table though; that this crisis we are in will take along time to change. “[The problems] will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.” He does a sneaky job at persuasion here. After all of his campaigning of “Change” he now is telling us that we won’t see quick results. Slipping in this short statement gives himself cover incase his plans of change don’t work out. If change doesn’t work, then once he is out of the White House he can pass the blame to the next president. Obama tells everyone change is the answer to all these problems. He explains how the United Sates is still a young nation, but can’t act childish. The country must mature and earn the greatness that is in it’s potential. He says the country has worked hard to get where it is, and that it must continue to prosper. Change is Obama’s answer, but throughout the speech he says that America have been a very prosperous country. So many would ask, why change then? Obama seems to leave that detail out of the address. This is probably left out of the speech because Obama knows that the people he is meant to be convincing are the non-Obama voters. So by him hiding his reasons they have nothing to immediately disagree with upon hearing his speech for the first time. This is a bold strategy, but would have worked better if he just said how he truly felt. In the song “Changes” by 2 Pac, there is heartfelt pleads for change, showing the dark reasons why it’s needed. “I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself is life worth living should I blast myself? I’m tired of bein’ poor & even worse black my stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch.” This shows the real struggles; people want change because they would rather die than keep living the way they have been. People need change because they don’t want to be ashamed to be who they...
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