Essay on Analysis of JFK’s Inaugural Address in 1961

Essay on Analysis of JFK’s Inaugural Address in 1961

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Analysis of JFK’s Inaugural Address in 1961


Throughout history, Presidents have used the Inaugural Address as an
opportunity to help the mental framework of the American people and to
the greater world. In order to effectively do so, those who craft the
address must exhibit a mastery of rhetoric. More so than in
other writing pieces, an Inaugural Address by nature appeals more to
the rhetorical element of emotion. This is due to the fact that the
address is intended to move its audience with powerful and socially
lasting statements.

The rhetorical element of emotion was especially vital to the address
of former President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s emotion presented the
whole free world with a responsibility to spread freedom, justice, and
to rid the world of evils. In addition, he calls upon the American
people to stand strong as the backbone of the attempt to win the “long
twilight struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty,
disease, and war.”

Kennedy wanted the people to be reenergized about defending freedom, a
hallmark of American society. To do so, he looks to this country’s
past and how each generation of Americans have been summoned to give
testimony to its national loyalty. His intentions were to stir up
patriotism; make Americans realize that almost all of the previous
generations have, at one time or another demonstrated their loyalty to
the freedoms we all know and love. Today (1961) our duties as US
citizens are no different. “We dare not today forget that we are the
heirs of that first revolution…and we are unwilling to permit the slow
undoing of the human rights to which this nation has alwa...


... middle of paper ...


... only Inaugural Address. Although emotions may seem irrational, they
tend to produce very rational effects. Kennedy relies on history
("Our ancient heritage") and God ("in the trumpet summons") and on
patriotism ("graves of young Americans") and on bravery ("I do not
shrink from this responsibility") to carry his message against "the
common enemies of man: "tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself".
Evoking excitement and fear caused many to be proactive out of worry
that their laziness may be counterproductive to the nation. This
address not only manipulated the audience by evoking certain emotions,
but equally important was the ability for the Inaugural Address to
linger in the minds of the audience. For years to come, we will still
remember the words and ideas of Kennedy simply because of his mastery
of rhetoric.

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