The problem addressed in this paper is the critique of a political speech of Barack Obama. The paper tells that as he spoke, Obama did so as the country’s first-elected black President and yet he spoke as if he were addressing all Americans and not just a select group of them. …
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This research will begin with the statement that the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States stands as a greatly significant and meaningful moment for contemporary America. His inaugural speech given on January 21st 2009 reads as a missive to all Americans and contains within it the classically American mélange of Christian-style preaching and the Enlightenment era ideas so important to the country’s heritage: life, liberty, and equality. With respect to the course, the researcher believes that Obama’s speech touches upon, among other things, key elements of Americana which appertain to its heritage, its self-imagery, and its Universalist claims of equality and liberty for all. In doing so, Obama employs pathos, ethos, and logos interchangeably so as to endow his words with the power that they have. It is debatable which of the three forms of rhetorical appeal are most effective to begin a speech. Each, depending on circumstance, can serve to capture the attention of the audience. Obama opts for a blend of pathos and ethos. He opens with “My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. The pathos of self-imposed modesty and ‘trust’ easily transitions to the ethos of ‘ancestors.’ ‘Ancestors’ begins an appeal to the ethos of the American Republic and its ideals. He manages the transition well as he then refers to an America which
…has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents. / So it has been; so it must be with this generation of Americans. (Obama 2009)
This blending of pathos and ethos is quite effective. Without yet having to employ the limited tool of logos, Obama is able to allude to an historical nation and the sentiments of its people. Logic and consistency might demand that one point out that in fact America has not always held true to its ‘founding documents,’ the existence of slavery for many years, the mistreatment of the Native American, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two being but some notable examples to the contrary. But this is rhetoric, not reality.
The brief sojourn into ethos is then temporarily abandoned for a return to pathos. What other recent event, scored into the memory of every American, has the ability to evoke an emotional response without fail: September 11, 2001 of course. The other sources of emotional upheaval at the moment (in 2009 and now) is the ongoing global economic crisis and to a lesser extent, environmental degradation and healthcare. Obama makes use of all three.
Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some….Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many -- and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. (Obama 2009)
It is interesting that a man who is facing a crisis as serious as that faced by FDR generations prior, appeals to the sense of unease and fear that many hold. Apparently, we have more to fear ‘than fear itself.’ International terrorism, failing economy, and an inefficient healthcare system are things to worry about. This is pure and unbridled pathos.
But in the end, Obama’s talent for speaking remains unblemished as he, after making appeals to fear-based concerns, reassures his audience, in true Rooseveltian fashion, that “we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord”
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(Critique of a Political Speech of Barack Obama Essay)
“Critique of a Political Speech of Barack Obama Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1431015-critique-of-a-political-speech-of-barack-obama.
In assessing the aptness of the speech to the principles of the three appeals, a discussion of each appeal, namely: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos, are therefore necessary, followed by the appropriate quotation of the part of the speech, and corresponding critique.
The inaugural ceremony of the president in United States of America is like a royal ceremony. It is a day filled with events, speeches, oaths and other ceremonies. Moreover this day depicts a new start. A new government having new strategies and new hopes starts to work for the betterment of the society.
This paper analyses the rhetorical features of the speech, arguing that far from being a simple report to the watching world on what actually happened, this speech is a subtle and opportunistic move to consolidate President Obama’s position within America.
However, America is currently a faction ridden country and as such, the public met his speech with mixed emotions. Although he made some good, valid points within his speech, there were those who still saw his speech as wanting and in need of more connection and understanding of the audience that speeches like these are geared for.
It is interesting how some leaders carry a strong sense of personality that changes everything when they get a chance to exercise their persona. Obama is believed to be one of the most influential leaders of our times. He is a living testimony of how an individual can change the world through hard work, dedication towards making the world a better place.
His race and religion did not make things any better for him either. His management and leadership style was a general point of concern among the Americans, his critics and by extension the whole world. As such, when he made his first African visit to Egypt as the President of the United States, he was to address many issues relating to America, democracy and religion with Egypt being a Muslim nation.
The speeches of Obama and Romney were enthralling considering that it was delivered by Presidential candidates. Personally, I was impressed by both speeches because they were towering and very insightful.
Nelson Mandela was the most beloved leader who reconciled the South African nation in their most volatile time. He was the personification of the ideal leader who is inspired, valued and cherished by his followers all over the world.
Finally, the introduction section gives the thesis statement of the paper, which goes like 'Barack Hussein Obama made significant contributions before becoming the US President.' The main body is divided into smaller sub titles in order to cover the topic easily and exhaustively.