Public Service: John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address is considered one of the greatest speeches in history and one of the shortest Inaugural Addresses at just 15 minutes. He attempts to build up America’s pride and calls the nation to support their country. He describes these goals using a variety of rhetorical devices to increase public reaction. His short but powerful speech gives comfort to an American public fearful of war.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, into a new wealthy Catholic family (Mehltretter). He lived a privileged lifestyle and was known for being a playboy, not really caring about his studies. However, a trip to Pre-World War II Europe significantly impacted his life which later motivated him to join the Naval Intelligence Office. After his heroic actions during World War II, he returned home a war hero. Eventually, Kennedy became a U.S Senator for Massachusetts. While in Congress, Kennedy was already aiming for the sky. He lobbied to become Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson's vice presidential running mate in 1956, but failed to gain Stevenson and the Democratic Convention’s support. However after Stevenson's defeat in 1956, Democrats wanted a new, more youthful candidate. Stevenson's loss “helped set the stage for one of the most dramatic and memorable presidential campaigns in U.S. history” (Mehltretter).
In the 1960 elections, John F. Kennedy won the Democratic nomination despite his youth, lack of experience and his Catholic faith (JFK Library). His opponent, Richard Nixon was the vice president of an administration popular with Americans and had significant experience in foreign affairs (Mehltretter). The 1960 Election was also overshadowed by rising tensions between the Soviet Union and the Uni...

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