John F. Kennedy - the Speaker

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy assassination Pages: 6 (2157 words) Published: February 2, 2010
I choose John F. Kennedy to write about as he epitomizes a great speaker to me. As I learned in class and in reading the textbook, credibility is key for any speaker to be fully respected. I believe that John F. Kennedy not only meets this qualification but surpasses it. Over the years I have looked at his speaking methodology and tried to follow his direction in speaking with knowledge, truth, and having the credibility on the subject matter. After being sworn into office, one of the best speeches was given by John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961. His inauguration speech gripped the whole nation, and it was so powerful that people still quote it to this day. It is one of the greatest speeches of all time that was ever written. The reason so many people remember quotes from this speech word for word is that there is a strong reaction to the pathos, ethos and logos in the people who hear it. John F. Kennedy was the United States’ thirty fifth president. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and then entered the Navy. He started out as a reporter before he entered politics. Afterwards he wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning "Profiles in Courage". Because Kennedy was the youngest president to take office, he faced much skepticism from his critics. This speech gave him recognition that was positive, although it had many purposes. In order to encourage the public of America to become actively involved with their country is why the inaugural address was written (Goldzwig & Dionisopoulos, 1995). Evident throughout John F. Kennedy's speech is energy that is youthful. Even though he just won a difficult campaign, his focus was not on the policies that contributed to his victory. The objectives he has are shown in powerful appeals to emotion, through establishing a link with the common American citizen. Drawing from his past but focusing on his future, he is able to personalize his speech (Boller, 1967). Kennedy's words stress his active goal of uniting two divisive camps. He discusses the great responsibilities he carries as a president and worldwide symbol of peace, and toward the end of his speech, he says: "I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it." His listeners are allowed to hear the strength of this determination from the showing of his persistence as a leader. His stance is that the world can only be bettered by accumulated effort therefore he extends his energies to everyone. When he places the focus on what can be done for the solving of the problem, the activism in his speech can be seen very clearly. His final aim for peace between debatable forces becomes obvious with his idea to, "have strong power to eliminate other nations with complete control of every nations." "Complete" emphasizes the bold diction applied to his speech, and it unites zeugma. He knows that people are afraid of this world, and he represents the boldness to let them know somebody is available that is not scared to have a peace negotiation (Barnes, 2005). Some of Kennedy's appeals that were the best to the audience were created by the diction that was metaphorical. An example of such use of metaphor is his vow to southern nations "to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty." Here, his metaphor not only clarifies his goal of liberation but emphasizes that freedom means not repeating historical injustices. He speaks of evil tyrants in history stating, "Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside," plainly illustrating his plans of becoming a moral figure on the international level. Formal diction evokes a sense of national pride, especially by respectfully referring to past Americans as "forebears." In the beginning sentence he ingeniously calls upon other citizens and addresses lots of government types. He places the Americans on course with the others spoken about (Heath, 1976). Kennedy does not drag on too long on a point, which is allowed with his...

References: Barnes, J. A. (2005). John F. Kennedy on Leadership: The Lessons and Legacy of a President. New York: AMACOM. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from Questia database:
Boller, P. F. (1967). Quotemanship: The Use and Abuse of Quotations for Polemical and Other Purposes. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from Questia database:
Goldzwig, S. R., & Dionisopoulos, G. N. (1995). In a Perilous Hour: The Public Address of John F. Kennedy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from Questia database:
Heath, J. F. (1976). Decade of Disillusionment: The Kennedy-Johnson Years. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from Questia database: a=o&d=84371896
Liebovich, L. W. (2001). The Press and the Modern Presidency: Myths and Mindsets from Kennedy to Election 2000. Westport, CT: Praeger. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from Questia database:
Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi. (1999). The 100 Insights and lessons from 100 of the greatest speeches ever delivered. Retrieved from: %20100%20Excerpts.pdf
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