Rhetorical Analysis of Barack Obama's First Speech

Date:  2021-04-08 22:47:15
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Barack Obama gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention on July 29, 2004, and is believed to be his major ticket to the White House. In the convention, Obama was received by thousands of enthusiastic delegates who waved the blue and white campaigns signs and chanting his name. In the speech, Obama established the tone for the Democratic Manifesto and offering the description of the partys principles and guidelines. On a wider note, his speech was about the unnecessary division of the Americans through political, social and economic lines. As his major manifesto, Obama stressed the importance of the Unity of the America and not just the Red states for the Republicans and the Blue for the Democrats. The speech is believed to be the greatest in the history of politics of the United States. The success of the speech is highly attributed to various styles and the use of appeals throughout the speech. Throughout the speech, Obama uses the strategies such as the ethos, logos, and pathos to reach is the message to his audience. This paper, therefore, offers a rhetorical analysis of 2004 Obamas Keynote speech.

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Use of logos by Obama contributed to the success of the speech. Fundamentally, logos refers to a literary device, which is usually a statement, sentence or the argument that is applied or used to convince or persuade the targeted audience and involves the employment of reason or logic. As evident, Obamas keynote speech mainly focused on the most important and unique characteristics of the United States, and the manner in which the unity is one of the primary things that America could have in 2004. In his speech, Obama asserts that there is no white America, no black America, and no Asian America but there is a United States of America. This statement emerges as a rallying cry for unity and togetherness of all the American States including the Red Republicans and Blue Democrats. By saying that there is the United States of America, Obama does not mean that there is the USA, but gives an implication of a united nation, as the American States. His rhetoric was deeply felt and sounded more relevant when he says, We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. This statement means that Americans are obliged to uphold and pledge their loyalty to any symbol that represents the USA. Finally, Obama criticized the war in Iraq by mentioning that never go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world. This assertion offers a valuable insight into the Democrat principles and goals which are to win the respect of the world. As Americans, we get to understand that the world must respect us because the Americas confrontation with its enemies is usually the right move.

Employment of ethos as a persuasion strategy makes Obama the master of oration when compared than his predecessors. Ethos refers to a rhetoric approach that involves means of convincing someone of the character or credibility of the persuader. In the speech, Obama uses his qualification to convince the audience that he can lead the Americans to the kind of victory that they deserve. In 2004, Obama was the Illinois senator and therefore possessed a vast knowledge and experience to the American politics. In the speech, Obama tells the crowd his story and therefore urges the audience to agree with him. Based on the fact that he was speaking at the Democratic National Convention, the application of ethos was not a problem and therefore easily convinced the Democrats who had known him. However, giving the speech with conviction further propelled the non-believers to agree with him.

Finally, Obamas use of pathos as a strategy played a crucial role in transforming the speech to become successful. The pathos refers to an important tool of persuasion that involves convincing people with an argument drawn through an emotional response. The highest point of the Obamas keynote speech is when he says, We worship an awesome God in the Blue States. Fascinatingly, by saying so, Obama rejects the notion that the Democrats are the secular party and therefore did it in unashamed language. A closer look at the speech offers a deeper revelation that the faith was a recurring thematic issue right away when he uttered, faith in simple dreams, the insistence on the small miracle. Ideally, the use of the words simple and small entails the application of pathos to link with the regular guy of America and the blue collar worker. The majority of Democrats rarely used this language before, and therefore, Obamas message becomes accessible to nearly of the Americans. When Obama says, I am the brothers keeper, I am my sisters keeper, his audience becomes emotionally entangled on a suitable state of contemplation regarding the kind of new America they are about to face. They are made to understand that togetherness and unity will be a major prevailing factor.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that Barrack Obama is an expert in the application of the three modes of persuasion, which include the logos, ethos, and pathos. He succeeded to use these strategies to establish the tone for the Democratic Manifesto and offering the description of the partys principles and guidelines. Nevertheless, it helped Obama put more stress on the while talking about the unnecessary division of the Americans through political, social and economic lines.

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