The Great Arsenal of Democracy (Ethos, Pathos, Logos)

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Alex Talley
Tony Friedhoff
ENGL 1310 Sect. 28
1 October 2012
The Great Arsenal of Democracy
When giving a speech a speaker must be able to connect with his audience, the speaker wants his/her speech to be easy to follow and easy to understand. It is for those specific reasons that speakers purposely put in lots of logos, pathos, and ethos into their speeches so that the audiences can connect emotionally, ethically, and intellectually with what they are talking about. A particular speech that uses many examples of pathos, logos, and ethos is The Great Arsenal of Democracy given by President Roosevelt on December 29, 1940. Throughout the speech President Roosevelt uses excessive amounts of pathos to connect with his people emotionally. He plays on their pride, fear, and the feelings of shame. He uses logos to express the facts and reasoning behind why the American people should help the British. The president knows that his people won’t go on blind faith; they need facts and reasoning to help the British. It is also because of the knowledge that the American won’t go blindly into war just to help, that he also puts lots of ethos into it to appeal to their ethical side. FDR wants the American people to see him as a strong leader who has a plan, as well as; the best interest for his people in mind. He is truthful and honest with them and lays down the line that if they don’t help the UK that America will be in even greater danger if the UK was to fall to the Nazis. It is for the safety of America that the president wants his people to feel emotionally, ethically, and intellectually unified with Great Britain so that by saving them they can save themselves from an even bigger threat down the road.

Throughout the speech given by FDR pathos is used a great deal to set a certain tone in order to get specific points across to the American people, as well as; create certain emotions within the American public to help stress his point across a little better. Certain emotions bring out strong reactions within the public, which is why the president only instills the emotions that help further along his case. One of those emotions that the president uses to his advantage is the feelings of fear that already resides within the American population. He doesn’t use it to create panic, but as an emotion that stokes the fires of the American public to rally behind the president and his plan to help Great Britain. He uses the pathos appeal by describing to the American people how unsafe the United States really is from Europe and the destruction that is occurring in that hemisphere. He goes on to emphasize his point by stating in his speech that the “width of those oceans is not what it was in the days of clipper ships. At one point between Africa and Brazil the distance is less than it is from Washington to Denver, Colorado, five hours for the latest type of bomber…”(435) which is considered to be a very high and real “threat” for America and all its citizens. By stating this threat within his speech he uses it as a direct attempt to appeal to the emotion of fear within the American people.

While trying to appeal to the emotion of fear within the American people he also ends up playing on their feelings of shame. When the president states “Some of our people like to believe that wars in Europe and in Asia are of no concern to us,”(434) he is trying to scold them for being thick and dense enough to actually believe that if we just stay out of the war the Nazis will actually leave us alone. After all, “No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness” (437). The president wants those people to be ashamed of actually believing that peace with Germany is possible. All Germany wants is to conquer country after country so that he can expand their “superior” race around the world. Those who believe otherwise are dreaming and the president wants them to be ashamed because not only are they...
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