Franklin D Roosevelt Infamy Speech Analysis

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On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked the base of Pearl Harbor in an effort to cripple the American naval dominance over the Pacific Ocean. This event, according to President Roosevelt, would be one “which will live in infamy” (Law.ou.edu). Franklin Delanor Roosevelt’s speech, which is known as the “Infamy Speech”, was given one day after the attack; his audience included that of Congress and the American people. Roosevelt wrote the speech himself and despite his advisors constantly badgering him to increase the length of his speech, he kept it short and succinct. The speech consists of twenty-five sentences and it took Roosevelt a little over seven minutes to deliver it on the congressional floor. President Roosevelt, through his …show more content…
Pathos is defined as appeal to emotion in order to sway the audience towards a point. In the case of the Infamy Speech, Roosevelt held no punches back as he bombarded the audience with pathos from the very beginning to the end. Although many consider pathos as one of the weakest devices in order to influence the minds of an audience, Roosevelt utilized it to perfection in his speech. The Oxford Dictionary defines infamy as an evil, disgraceful or even a wicked act. In the first sentence itself Roosevelt cuts to the chase by referring to the merciless attack by the Japanese as “a date which will live in infamy” (Law.ou.edu). Roosevelt purposefully used “infamy” in order to instill the disgust and hatred of the Japanese inside the brains of the 81 percent of the American population listening to the speech, through their radios, at home. Many young Americans imbued with national pride signed up and were willing to go fight a war against Japan. Another tool Roosevelt employed to give the American people the courage necessary to fight back was the use of passive voice in contrast to active voice. For example in the second paragraph “ The Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States, (Law.ou.edu)” Roosevelt clearly made the United States an object being acted upon by the Japanese to portray Americans as the obvious victims in this situation. This idea of the “corruption of innocence” clearly portrayed the United States as morally superior against the Japanese and thus made fighting and inevitably dying for one’s country honorable and

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