John F Kennedy Inaugural Address Rhetorical Analysis

Improved Essays
On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered a powerful and moving Inaugural Address to thousands of people across the nation. The Cold War, which divided the globe, was a leading topic from the start of the 1960 election. The United States and the Soviet Union alike threatened each other with nuclear weapons as they raced for power. People all over the world feared of intentional as well as accidental mass destruction from those nuclear weapons. President Kennedy knew people were afraid of what the nuclear age would bring and that division was a global problem, so by using compelling diction as well as anaphora, he hoped to inspire the nation to bring peace and unity during the nuclear age.
President Kennedy’s compelling diction
…show more content…
Using only fear-invoking diction would create a mindset of vulnerability and weakness. However, President Kennedy did not want that; He wanted to motivate citizens into taking action so that they may end the tension created by the Cold War. President Kennedy’s shift in diction begins when he states, “In your hands, my fellow citizens…will rest the final success…of our course” (464). Instead of mentioning self-destruction of the world and implying helplessness, President Kennedy put responsibility into the hands of the citizens. He hoped the people of the United States would feel a sense of accountability if they were to fall into war. This new sense of responsibility further created a desire to restore peace and unity. In addition, President Kennedy reminds citizens of the foundation of their country: freedom. He states, “ask…what together we can do for the freedom of man” (464). By using the words “together” and “freedom,” President Kennedy generates a sense of patriotism. This patriotism in turn makes the citizens of America want to preserve their freedom as well as their country. As a result, people would want to join the movement in bringing peace in order to keep the freedom Americans already have. In his final paragraph, President Kennedy further highlights patriotism by using two words in particular: “strength and sacrifice” (465). These two words …show more content…
Repetition seemed to be his way of making sure his claim was clearly understood by his listeners. Towards the middle of his speech, President Kennedy begins his paragraphs with similar phrases such as, “To those old allies…To those new states…To those people…” (463). He addresses everyone whom he wants to pledge to individually, since he pledges different ideas for each group. By addressing each group individually, President Kennedy shows that everyone is needed to bring peace and unity to the world, not just the Soviet Union. World peace is a global issue, and he knew everyone must take a part in restoring it in order to achieve it. Shortly after this anaphora, President Kennedy uses another one to emphasize his claim of unifying both hemispheres. He begins the following paragraphs with the phrase “Let both sides…” (464). Again, he uses this repetition in order to stress his claim of unity. The repetition allows him to emphasize that peace can only be achieved if both sides work together. President Kennedy knew that achieving peace was a two-way street, where both sides had to cooperate in order to avoid mass consequences. President Kennedy uses repetition to stress the need for unity not only the between the United States and the Soviet Union, but the entire world to avoid possible warfare and

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Throughout his speech, Nixon repeatedly states his plan is the “peace plan” which relates to America’s fantasy theme that they are the peacekeepers of the world and their duty is to maintain tranquility among all nations. Nixon states his plan is “a plan which will end the war and serve the cause of peace” (11). Nixon is using the fantasy theme of being the peacekeepers to make Americans feel a sense of responsibility to finish the war. Since Americans value keeping the world a peaceful place, he reiterates his point of trying to make peace to get the audience to agree with his words which ultimately ends in them following his plan as a unified nation. He again states, “I have chosen a plan for peace” (12) and “I share your concern for peace” (11) to drive home the point that, although his plan is to continue the war, he also believes America is the peacekeeper of the world.…

    • 1163 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He uses tropes and schemes to convey his purpose in a manner that effectively made Americans respect him. Throughout the speech, Kennedy appeals to a vast amount of rhetorical strategies to effectively persuade his audience of how his idea of unity will help the country overcome the problems it currently faces. Perhaps one of the most memorable and iconic rhetorical devices Kennedy used was antimetabole. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” He uses this strategy to create not only an unforgettable quote for history, but to encapsulate his goal in a flowing and stylish sentence. He negates and repeats a clause in reverse order…

    • 948 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The main purpose of his speech was to get Americans to unite. He was calling for peace for all of mankind. Kennedy’s main goal was to promote democracy and peace. Kennedy was informing about the new tactics that he would use to solve issues; he was also promoting patriotism for the country. He wanted Americans to look at his victory in the election for “celebration of…

    • 1066 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Additionally, he is saying that future generation will question why did authority did take action when people were living in a time of crisis. Contrasting to Roosevelt’s vision, Kennedy wants to completely avoid violence and war with foreign countries and instead wants to unite with the enemy and secure peace and liberty in America when he states, “...we…

    • 1581 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Furthermore, in his speech, Kennedy promised to bring hope, peace and freedom to every American, an end of tyranny, and war - the same principles of the Founding Fathers, that all men are created equal and should be treated as such. He affirmed better global relations and with the help of science and people, to stop hunger, poverty, and find cures for disease. By using these broad, visionary ideas, Kennedy unites the listeners by employing abstract words such as poverty and sacrifice in order to get a shared…

    • 1051 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In paragraph 33, he says “Not only will we fight for democracy, we will make it more worth fighting for…we will work for the good of mankind…so that all may have plenty and security.” This quote was a good example of why the United States should help in the war. He states that it will be a good deed to do rather than bad as many Americans perceive the wars. His claim was the United States needs to help our allies defeat the Nazis. The reason was to protect the freedom, country, and democracy for both Britain and the United…

    • 838 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A saying to get his chance at being the President of the United States, to gain the trust of all the American citizens, and to put his foot down and place a mark to any other country that he isn’t joking, but he only means business and solutions. He stayed cool, calm, and collected, John F. Kennedy ends his speech announcing, “Knowing that here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.” he declares this to notify the citizens of the United States that the quest for peace won’t start or solve the planet’s problems, meaning Kennedy would not like to go to war with Russia, or anyone at all. He only plans to look for peace and solutions and he is the true definition of trying to make the world better, but making America Greater while doing so. In my opinion, Kennedy puts on an amazing show for his inaugural speech, and it will light a spark of greatness to his although short, but his great presidency and will be a role-model for the following presidents to come. He knows what he should do as president, for he has already inspired the American people to follow him as the new leader of the country, attempts to persuade the communist countries to join as one although the chances and possibilities are slim due to the fact communism wasn’t a thing everyone loved and vice versa.…

    • 1046 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy addresses the American Public about the potential that the future of America can hold- if they strive to achieve it. Throughout his address, he refers a number of times to the belief that the people should be helping the government, not relying on the government to help them. Kennedy established his belief in this philosophy through the strong figurative language and rhetorical strategies he employed throughout his speech. Moreover. he assured the American People that as president, he believed in the importance of the common man by stating “ In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.” By utilizing such strong language, John F. Kennedy was…

    • 1103 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As a contributor of the Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, Dunne explains, “his peroration emphasized that the Alliance of Progress was to be a collective effort by self- motivating government in the interest of their own peoples and all the peoples of the Americas” (par. 7). In his inaugural address, President Kennedy addresses citizens to unite to establish peace and freedom in other countries. Above all, Kennedy uses parallelism to convey unity and optimism around the world. Aside from portraying leadership and unity, Kennedy’s speech also emphasized that the United States of America had no limits when it came to conquering the…

    • 1009 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This invoked a sense of patriotism into the audience at Kennedy’s inaugural speech and made them feel like they had a duty as Americans to preserve the freedom that their founding fathers had worked so hard for. Kennedy also questions the American people, urging them to, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” In the same way, he questions the world, saying, “ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” In questioning the American people and the world, Kennedy forces the people to really think about what they can do to bring justice for themselves and all around them. Kennedy asks the world to unite with America to work towards freedom of man. This appeals to the audience’s sense of responsibility and makes them feel like they can do something to lend a helping hand to those in poverty, misery, or…

    • 1406 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays