Rhetoric in Jfk Inaugural Address

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Jared Lauer 15 September 2013 Rhetoric in JFK Inaugural Address John Fitzgerald Kennedy used many rhetorical devices in his inaugural address to the nation on January 20, 1961 in an effort gain the support of all people whether they voted for him or not. He effectively uses pathos, logos, and ethos to achieve this and get his point across. Since the race was so close JFK needed to establish his credibility with the nation and the entire world. He starts out with a strong reassuring statement: “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom-symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning-signifying renewal, as well as change” (Kennedy). He shows humility by making his winning the election not a personal gain, but a victory for the American people as a whole. JFK was also an outspoken Catholic and alluded to God many times in his speech. He also alludes to many historical events to establish his credibility with his audience. He makes it clear that he has “sworn before [everybody] and God Almighty the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago” (Kennedy). The purpose of this statement is to establish his commitment to providing for the common good of the nation by taking the oath of office. JFK continues with an appeal to the emotions, or pathos, of his audience by addressing a topic heavy on the hearts and minds of many Americans with the statement, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty” (Kennedy). He tries to bring peace to his audience and tries to unite them as one. He also backs the up saying, “united, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do”
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