Lincoln's House Divided Speech Analysis

Topics: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, Slavery in the United States Pages: 2 (427 words) Published: March 23, 2011
Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech had an enticing effect on the public and influenced their opinions drastically, when it was given in 1858, as Mr. Lincoln was running for Senator. President Lincoln implemented some very effective arguments and rhetorical devices to create a hypnotic sway in his speech. It is apparent that Lincoln had a mastery of the English language; and consequently, this speech has been recognized as one of the most masterfully crafted speeches in American history. Mr. Lincoln used an astounding analogy, comparing slavery to a machine throughout his entire speech. As a result, the audience was guided to ponder the metallic heartlessness of slavery. Better yet, his stellar use of appeal to logic was the most effective device on the intellectually stimulated and rational audience because his coherent argument made his point more viable. He eluded to his listeners how slavery had been abused throughout time and how the people themselves had done nothing to mend that precarious situation. Lincoln also used a variety of rhetorical devices, adding powerful connotation to his complex and meaningful speech. His dictation was a key element, as the use of an intensely urgent and agitated tone conveyed to the audience the exigency of the issue at hand. Mr. Lincoln also included parallelism and repetition by using a concept of “points” to keep his audience focused and in sync with his rhythmical structure. His rhetorical question towards the beginning of his speech was very essential in planting a seed which eventually blossomed into a bouquet of influential points. President Lincoln’s allusions were the most effective, as he constantly mentioned the Nebraska Bill and Dred Scott Case, and even utilized a reference to the Bible by saying: “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. The accurate execution of implementing the Nebraska Bill and Dred Scott Case assured the audience of the high intelligence level of Mr. Lincoln, while the Biblical...
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