Comparing and Contrasting Important Presidential Speeches by President Johnson and Obama

Comparing and Contrasting Important Presidential Speeches by President Johnson and Obama

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Although both President Johnson and President Obama outlined a military tactic and a nation-building process that they hoped to be installed, both presidents go about different ways to present their ideas—Johnson in a way that people can relate to, and Obama in a way that people can understand.
What Johnson needed for the continuation of the war was the support of the people, and to do that, Johnson gave the people what they wanted to hear. He took advantage of the war fever and carefully wove his speech to invoke emotional ties and obligation from his audience. He brought up sensitive topics, such as the strangulation of women and children in the middle of the night due to their family ties with the government. He talks of the Vietnamese people as helpless innocent bystanders who needed help. By doing so, Johnson made it apparent to the American people that they were the protector. If they did not take up this role, no one else would and many more will suffer.
Not only did what he say affected the people, but how he said things were crucial in understanding why people were so moved by his speech. Although he did not speak in an inspirational, powerful tone, the pace in which he spoke was slow enough to make people focus and hang on to his every word. This slowness of his speech truly draws in the audience—and I, the listener, was truly affected by him when he stated the question, “…Have I done enough? Ask yourselves that question in your homes—and in this hall tonight. Have we, each of us, done all we could? Have we done enough?” By questioning the audience after stirring up their emotions, Johnson was able to make the people feel as if they’re directly responsible for the war efforts, and by doing that, Johnson was able win ...


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... in terms of military force.

To sum it up, Obama’s speech differs from Johnson’s in many respects. For one, Obama did not try to inspire people to join in to his cause—to America’s cause. Instead, he explained everything: the reasons for his plan, the budget required, a set time frame for troop withdrawal, and a set goal. There was total transparency—the strategy. The second main difference is that he knew what the limits were for United States, and did not set any unrealistic goals. For example, he knew from the war with Vietnam that the power of the US was limited to public support for the war—and what people are favoring now is the quick withdrawal of American troops. To do that, stability in Afghanistan is needed. Thirdly, his speech was marked with a sense of pragmatism—appealing to logic and reasoning while Johnson’s speech was meant to appeal to the people.

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