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An opinion paper on inaugural adresses - Essay Example

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Here, I compare the Second Inaugural Address of President Ronald Reagan against that of President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Speech. Both presidents were held with acclaim and considered by many to be one of the greatest and universally respected leaders; one republican, the other democrat…
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Download file to see previous pages economic situation had somehow improved from the grim scenario of the Carter administration. The two parallel situations of the early 1960s and mid 1980s therefore were almost of the same footing as far as both presidential speeches are concerned, and in terms of socio-economic and global realities.
Kennedy and Reagan' speeches were equally moving and heart warming. But while the whole of Kennedy's address could be poignantly quotable, it wheeled around solely on world issues such as the threats of communism, nuclear war, and global alliance. Domestic concerns, if at all, were mentioned just in passing. On the other hand, Reagan's speech was much more than just motivational. It was comprehensive and tackled a lot of home grown problems as well as global ones which contained specific concerns such as public administration, taxation, and employment:
At the heart of our efforts is one idea vindicated by 25 straight months of economic growth. Freedom and incentives unleash the drive for entrepreneurial genius that is the core of human progress. We have begun to increase the rewards for work, savings, and investment; reduced the increase in the cost and size of government and its interference in people's lives.
We must simplify our tax system, make it more fair, and bring the rates down for all who work and earn. We must think anew and move with a new boldness, so every American who seeks work can find work; so the least among us shall have an equal chance to achieve the greatest things-to be heroes who heal our sick, feed the hungry, protect peace among nations, and leave this world a better place (home of heroes).
But more than practical issues, Reagan proved to be a man with a deeper sense of history. With an impressive stroke, he took his listeners 'by the hand', toured them back in time using such vivid and vibrant example as:
History is a ribbon, always unfurling; history is a journey. And as we continue our journey, we think of those who traveled before us Now we are standing inside this symbol of our democracy. Now we hear again the echoes of our past: a general falls to his knees in the hard snow of Valley Forge; a lonely President paces the darkened halls, and ponders his struggle to preserve the Union; the men of the Alamo call out encouragement to each other; a settler pushes west and sings a song, and the song echoes out forever and fills the unknowing air.
Although, most presidential speeches refer to historical events to enhance a crucial issue, no one presented them as dramatic and touching as Reagan did. And he did so by immersing his listeners to a particular point in history, took them there, and made them feel the drama that was unfolding; but only to bring them back to the present with a call to unity, action, hope and faith in God:
It is the American sound. It is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair. That's our heritage; that is our song. We sing it still. For all our problems, our differences, we are together as of old, as we raise our voices to the God who is the Author of this most tender music. And may He continue to hold us close as we fill the world with our sound-sound in unity, affection, and love-one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart, called upon now to pass that dream on to a waiting and hopeful world.
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