Rhetorical Choices in Political Speeches

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Every four years during any US Presidential election overzealous patriotism hits an all time high, and it truly shows with the citizen turnout at the newly elected President’s inaugural ceremony. In the months leading up to election day, Presidential candidates attempt to persuade voters to cast ballots in their favor through different forms of advertising which contains strategic rhetoric and political language. Political language otherwise known as “political propaganda”, is designed to influence masses of people within a nation, and even across the globe. As Harry S. Truman stated during the National Conference on Family Life on May 6th, 1948: “the principal power that the President has is to bring people in and try to persuade them to do what they ought to do without persuasion”(Truman,Worksheet). The power that Truman spoke of is undeniable during any President’s inaugural address, which highlights the beginning of their term as the newly elected President, while addressing their plans for the people of the United States during the next four years. These addresses contain propaganda techniques that most listeners wouldn’t recognize as propaganda, including: glittering generalities, transfer, plain folks, card stacking, bandwagon, and testimonials.

One of the most memorable inaugural speeches in American history was delivered by President John F. Kennedy on January 20th, 1961. Throughout his speech Kennedy uses the “plain folks” technique, with the use of words like,“we”,”our”, and “us”, to convince his audience that he was simply an ordinary man of the people. More specifically he addressed the issues facing Americans regarding tensions between the United States and The Soviet Union, and his hopes of managing internationa...

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...ducts if consumers wouldn’t fund companies.

Lutz appears to be the more credible source due to his field of work, but his argument tells consumers to dissect every word used in an ad claim, because the ad may be using a form of manipulation. Advertisers main goal is to sell a product by any means necessary, but the verbal language used isn’t placing a magician like spell on anyone forcing them to buy a product simply with the use of weasel words. Realistically speaking consumers won’t always have the time to critically analyze every item they purchase. O’Neill’s argument is stronger than Lutz because consumers ultimately create and shape the world of advertising, and at the scale certain products are being advertised. Advertising is a form of persuasion not manipulation, unless individuals are completely mindless and cannot form a single thought for themselves.
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