Rhetorical Analysis Of Jfk's Inauguration Speech

910 words - 4 pages

John Fitzgerald Kennedy delivered one of the most important American speeches after being sworn in as president on January 20, 1961. His inauguration speech was so influential that it seized the nation’s attention, and quotes from it are still clearly remembered by people today. It is considered one of the best speeches ever written and ever delivered. It presents a strong appeal to pathos, ethos, and logos and accomplishes what any speaker strives for – it speaks straight to the heart of the audience and inspires people.
John F Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States and at 43 years old he was the youngest president to take office. Because of his youth, he stumbled upon much skepticism from his opposition and even a little from his supporters. Kennedy’s inauguration speech was so vital because he needed to make a quick and powerful first impression to America and to the entire world. The address was written to encourage American citizens to get involved with their country and with the issues of the time. This speech reassured the voters that they made the correct choice and informed the country that changes were on there way.
The inaugural speech was arranged so that it flowed easily from start to finish. The first paragraph contains many uses of comparison and contrast. For example, “We observe today not a victory of a party but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end as well as a beginning—signifying a renewal as well as change”(Kennedy par 1). There are also examples of cause and effect in the speech. I believe that this is to be expected because of all the deliberations over war. Kennedy used these techniques to make it sound like it was our moral responsibility we should go to war. These are the two basic structures that are used throughout the speech, but they are used so well that it is not necessarily lacking substance.
The Kennedy family was very popular and had well-known moral standards, so it is no surprise that in John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech there were constant examples of ethos, in which he appealed to the audience through moral values. His moral standpoint became apparent as he mentions God and doing the right thing.
“With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth and to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing here on earth God’s work must truly be our own” (Kennedy par 27).
Kennedy recognizes his presidential duties and acknowledges the trust that has been placed in him to lead the country when he stated: “I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it” (Kennedy par 24).
With the Vietnam War affecting...

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