John F Kennedy Inaugural Address Rhetorical Analysis

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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
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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

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