John F. Kennedy 's Inaugural Address Essay

John F. Kennedy 's Inaugural Address Essay

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The inaugural address has been a traditional practice to every president since George Washington first did it at his second inauguration in 1793. An inaugural address is an important aspect that marks the beginning of a public leader’s term in office. The address also serves as a way for the leader to address the public of their intentions as leader. There have been several different types of inaugural addresses, but one that has stood the test of time is John F. Kennedy’s address. Kennedy was elected president of the United States in the 1960 election after beating out Richard Nixon and the Republican Party in an election that the popular vote was won by a mere percentage point. Following the election, Kennedy delivered his inaugural address in January of 1961 and it would come to be one of the most influential inaugural addresses in American history. Kennedy entered his new leadership role when America was in the height of the Cold War, so it was important for Kennedy to make an impactful first impression to his countrymen. While he was able to incorporate the rhetoric strategies of ethos, logos, and pathos in his speech, the rhetorical strategies antithesis, lists, and parallelism also make the speech effective and straightforward in a non-pedantic way.
Kennedy’s speech was not only for United States citizens, but also for an international audience of countless cultures. Kennedy was not interested in just the crowd at Washington because at the time in American history, televisions were popping up in households across the globe. There were several times during the speech where he explicitly addressed different groups of people with statements such as, “To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe…To our sister...


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Kennedy was able to incorporate the rhetorical devise of antitheses, lists, and parallelism along with ethos, logos, and pathos to effectively persuade the American people and those across the globe that he would be a faithful president. By rallying the people to think together as a whole, rather than individuals, he illustrated his ideas of unity and called upon those around him to join his efforts to create a more peaceful world. The lasting impact of his speech today still serves as an example for presidents to come as just like presidents before his time, took word craft as a serious mater to deliver an impactful and thoughtful speech.



Work Cited
Kennedy, John F. “John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address.” Classical Rhetoric For The Modern Student. Ed. Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 459-461. Print.

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