Rhetorical Analysis Of Kennedy's Inaugural Address

1319 Words6 Pages
After World War II, tensions between the United States, its allies, and the Soviet Union became very apparent. When John F. Kennedy (JFK) was elected in 1960, this “Cold War” between the communist government of the Soviet Union and the democratic government of the United States had strained relationships around the world for over 15 years. After losing their sense of security, the American people elected John F. Kennedy in 1960 as the 35th President of the United States because they believed he could lead the country to peace and prosperity. Although President Kennedy knew these goals of peace and prosperity would not be achieved in the term of his presidency or his lifetime, he also knew the world could eventually accomplish them through…show more content…
In writing the speech, he wanted it to be brief but powerful and focus on foreign policy and to unite all American citizens by pointing out their common values and ethics such as equal rights; beliefs in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and hard work. The most famous section of the speech was near the end when Kennedy said to all Americans, “And, so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” He also appealed to the citizens of the world by saying, “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” (JFK’s Inaugural Address). These lines made it clear that it was everyone’s responsibility to make the changes the entire world wanted to see. The newly-elected President of the United States repeated these appeals to both Americans and the world throughout the speech to grab the attention of the audience, for example, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship…” (JFK’s Inaugural Address). He wanted to keep his promise of establishing peace between nations and wanted to let all countries and citizens know that all would gain success if they worked…show more content…
Factual references to the Cold War, including the burden of the cost of modern weapons, the spread of nuclear weapons, and the threat of a nuclear war also sent a message to the Soviet Union to encourage them to join with the United States to solve common problems. Kennedy also made another strong ethical appeal to the world audience when he said, “To those people in huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves” (JFK’s Inaugural Address). The audience needed to understand that signs of kindness, respect, and civility were not weakness but were signs of the world becoming more prosperous. Without the help of all nations, adversaries or not, the goals and purposes would not be
Open Document