Obama Selma Speech

Topics: Rhetoric, United States, Barack Obama Pages: 4 (888 words) Published: April 13, 2015
Ruling the Minds of Men
Plato, a great philosopher, once said “rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men” (Plato). He accentuates the importance of rhetoric in persuading the audience to support a cause or take action. In his speech addressed at the 50th anniversary of Selma march, President Barack Obama uses rhetoric to persuade his audience, Americans as a whole, to discourage racism in the United States. President Obama appeals to the rhetorical strategies, uses rhetorical devices, and applies a presentation style; which make his speech effective in terms of rhetoric. President Obama appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos to get his message about racism across to his audience. Throughout his speech, the President refers to the American history to add credibility to his speech. He refers to The Declaration of Independence by stating, “We the People…in order to form a more perfect union. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Obama). His reference to the Declaration of Independence allows the audience to conclude that he is a credible source because he uses a quotation from a strong resource to persuade his audience. The President proceeds to persuade his audience by claiming that “we’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan” (Obama). He appeals to pathos by pointing out that the Americans have been victims of racism and ought to end it now to prevent occurrences like the Holocaust. Lastly, he appeals to logos by asserting, “the American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny” (Obama). His assertion that the American instinct is still alive, and it has been alive since the American Revolution adds logic because he is implying that the Americans have enough persuasion to...

Cited: Obama, Barack. “Selma Commemoration Speech.” Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma. 7 March, 2015.
Plato. “Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” Aseoane15. Blogger, 10 Oct 2011. Web. 10 Mar 2015.
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