Powerful oratory is one of the strongest weapons of successful politicians. History is witness to the fact that people who have been able to influence masses with their oratory have become the powerful leaders and politicians…
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One such politician is American President Barack Obama. One of the most memorable speeches that he delivered was the one that he gave on March 18, 2008, at the National Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (“Obama Race Speech”). The speech was titled “A More Perfect Union.” The speech “A More Perfect Union” is a classic example of powerful oratory and rhetoric. The speech is the essence of pathos with support of ethos. It is a powerful appeal to American citizens to unite against the problem of racism in the United States. With the use of powerful words and personal life stories, President Barack Obama makes the listener realize that the problem of ‘racism’ has destroyed the chance of bringing the ‘real’ problems that country is facing, to the surface. By giving examples from his personal life and by stating the ‘truth’ in a bold way, he makes the listener feel that he is not talking about some other Black or White person, but he is talking about ‘me.’ Hence, by unmasking the real problems and by discussing the ‘true’ feelings of people from all the ethnic background in an open and honest way, he brings out the ‘humans’ inside the listeners and makes them believe that they are one, as their problems are one. By proving his strength of character and by appealing to the emotions of people, President Barack Obama shocks the listeners with his ‘non-political,’ honest and true speech, and hence, succeeds in convincing them to focus on the ‘real problem’ rather then focusing on the controversial problems that are being hyped by the media to distract their attention from real problems. Rhetorical Analysis In his speech “A More Perfect Union”, President Obama has used the elements of pathos and ethos to persuade the listeners to believe that people of United States have always been distracted from their true goal of solving important problems by brining up the problem of ‘racism’ again and again. The intention of the speech was to make people believe that ‘racism’ is still a threat to people because politicians and other selfish leaders do not want it to be eradicated. Making people to believe this, and persuading them to understand the need of going beyond the ‘race,’ was not an easy task. However, by doing the unexpected, i.e. coming out openly about his personal life, and by bringing out the true feelings in open, President Obama was successful not only in persuading the people to believe in every word that he said, but has also succeeded in winning the hearts of the listeners. The rhetorical elements that have made his speech glorious and powerful are discussed below. Ethos History shows that powerful leaders are those people who stand by their citizens no matter what the conditions are. Powerful leaders not only lead their followers to fight against injustice but also give them a right direction. However, a true test of the leader comes when he has to stand by his followers when they have gone wrong. President Obama’s speech is a powerful example of ‘ethos’ as he has proved his strong and dependable character by accepting the mistake that his former pastor has made and at the same time, defending him by telling people the reason behind his actions. From the speech, it is evident that the intention of his speech was to come clear regarding the accusations that media was indulging in related to the hate speech delivered by his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It was a difficult task as it was a tricky situation. However, President Obama, by handling the situation in a mature way, shows his authority as a leader. He not only defended himself but also defended his former pastor Reverend Wright and explained why the problem of ‘
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