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Rhetorical Analysis of Jfk Inaugural Speech

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Rhetorical Analysis of Jfk Inaugural Speech

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  • September 2010
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In early 1961, the United States of America was enduring racial tensions and inequalities on the home-front, as well as waging war against Communism and the Cold War internationally. Chaos and fear had penetrated the minds of the American people because the Cold War was near its pinnacle; the American people longed for a strong, reassuring leader. John F. Kennedy provided that reassurance in his Inaugural Address. Taking the current national and international turmoil into account, Kennedy sought to persuade the Nation’s people to join in his efforts and unify together in order to achieve peace. The inaugural address is saturated with rhetorical strategies seeking to flatter the American People and utilizes words of encouragement to evoke unification. Kennedy was able to effectively establish a profound kairotic moment at which his discourse can make the most difference or have the most influence. The speech persuades the American people by providing motivating propositions through appeals to ethos, logos and pathos. Kennedy’s inaugural address plays to an irrefutably persuading rhythm. Strong, motivational verbs are joined with sophisticated adjectives in a manner that would make the most inane speech capable of swaying an entire population. In order to capture the minds of the American people, Kennedy begins with an antithesis, calling his victory, “...a celebration of freedom-symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning”. This statement is to ensure the people that they are embarking in a new era of reform and peace, the end of turmoil, and the beginning of prosperous tranquility. Similar to the Declaration of Independence, Kennedy’s speech emphasizes the unification of the country through the use of parallelism and juxtaposition. Kennedy appeals to his audience’s ethos through visions of freedom and American values. He does this through the juxtaposition of freedom from the tyranny of man and the reliance of God to provide such freedom. By utilizing a...

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