15 March 2015
A president’s first inaugural speech is an important part of the start of a presidential term and sets the stage for the years to come. In 1933, at the time the depression was the worst and many had lost hope in the government, Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) had to regain trust and stimulate action in his country. FDR graduated from Harvard and went right into politics becoming a senate, then vice president, later becoming the President. In the book, “Presidential Communication: Description and Analysis” by Robert E. Denton and Dan F. Hahn, they establish that successful politicians use specific linguistic devices. Denton and Hahn are both professors at universities and authors of many articles and books relating to communication and politics. These functions of political language that FDR included in his speech were action stimulation, agenda-setting, and projection for the future and past. Through the use of Denton and Hahn’s “Language and the Presidency” will help analyze the specific functions of political language that FDR uses in his first Inaugural speech. The first significant factor in Franklin Roosevelt’s (FDR) 1st Inaugural speech was his use of “action stimulation” (Denton and Hahn pg. 262). This was very important because of the situation the United States was in. In the years before FDR was elected, the United States was in the worst economic depression and unemployment was at an all time high. In order to get everyone back on their feet, FDR used this important technique to motivate many Americans to improve their country through hard work. At the beginning of his speech he stated, “let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance” (Roosevelt, “1st …” par. 1). He was responding to events that were occurring at the time and encouraging his...
Cited: Denton, Robert E. and Dan F. Hahn. Presidential Communication: Description and Analysis. New York: Praeger, 1968. Print.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. “1st Inaugural Speech”. White House. Washington DC. 4 March 1933. Speech.
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