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Rhetorical Analysis of McCarthy's 'The Enemies From Within'

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On February 9, 1950, Joseph McCarthy, a Wisconsin Republican Senator, made a speech, entitled “Enemies from Within”, against Communism in Wheeling, West Virginia. McCarthy’s speech contained several rhetorical devices, such as alliteration, name-calling, and pathos, to support his negative views and opinions on Communism. McCarthy uses a great deal of alliterations to keep his audiences’ attention. “Mad moment” (paragraph 4) and “sloppy sentimentality” (paragraph 9) are two of the alliterations that he uses. Not only does he use them to keep his audiences’ attention, but he also uses them to describe his argument against Communism. Name-calling can be used for many reasons. Joseph McCarthy used it to downgrade the followers and leaders of Communism. In the fifth paragraph of his speech, McCarthy states, “The great difference between our western Christian world and the atheistic Communist world is not political, gentlemen, it is moral.” To some, the word atheistic can be used to downgrade or demote one’s beliefs. He also uses this same form of name-calling in paragraph 8. “Karl Marx dismissed God as a hoax, and Lenin and Stalin have added in clear-cut, unmistakable language their resolve that no nation, no people who believe in a god, can exist side by side with their communistic state.” When defined, pathos is appeal based on emotions. McCarthy uses this appeal to basically persuade his audience to believe his views. In his speech, he uses words such as “love”, “justice”, “humanity”, and “morality” (paragraph 9) to appeal to the emotions of his audience. He also uses phrases like, “men’s hearts should anticipate a long peace – and men’s minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war” (paragraph 2) and “Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who wait too long” (paragraph 13). Joseph McCarthy had many views and opinions on Communism. He used many rhetorical devices to express these negative views and opinions in his 1950 speech, “Enemies from Within”.

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