A Rhetorical Analysis of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat
President Franklin Roosevelt’s “First Fireside Chat” is a reassuring piece that inspired the nation in a time of need using his voice that projected his personal warmth and charm into the nation’s living rooms to explain the banking crisis. He slowly and comprehensibly informed the American people on what has been done and to explain the complex banking system while using rhetorical appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos to effectively restore American faith in the United States government and banking system.
Roosevelt won the 1932 election after a landslide victory over his predecessor Herbert Hoover. At this time, America was going through one of the toughest times inside its own borders ever: The Great Depression. Roosevelt's First Fireside Chat on March 12, 1933 marked the beginning of a series of 30 radio broadcasts to the American people reassuring them the nation was going to recover as he shared his hopes and plans for the country. Roosevelt was simply telling the people what he was doing and why. This level of intimacy with politics made people feel as if they too were part of the administrations decision-making process and many soon felt that they knew Roosevelt personally and most importantly, they grew to trust him. Only eight days after his inauguration, President Roosevelt took to the air waves to let Americans know how the country was doing. Millions gathered around their radios to listen in. The President explained to the country in simple terms why so many banks had failed and why he had decided to close them down on March 6 (the so-called "bank holiday”. He then described the measures that Congress was taking to make sure that a banking crisis would not happen again. Roosevelt used ethos multiple times in his speech to establish his credibility and honesty. After his introduction Roosevelt told America, “And I know that when you understand what we in Washington have been...
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