Essay about Lyndon B. Johnson 's Speech

1210 Words Nov 9th, 2016 5 Pages
In November of 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a speech to the United States Congress. The speech was made days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy (Garth, P, 1997). It both remembers Kennedy’s life and calls Congress to continue working on the legislation Kennedy championed. As a student of both communication and political science, this speech drew my attention specifically. I was drawn to how the speech used rhetorical communication ideas to further policy goals. Specifically, Lyndon B. Johnson’s speech lays a foundation of ceremonial rhetoric so that he can then use pathos to create sense of urgency for Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act in honor of John F. Kennedy’s legacy.
First, Johnson calls to the mind of Congress the legacy of John F. Kennedy so that Congress may be persuaded to pass the Civil Rights Act to honor Kennedy. Using communication to reflect on someone’s life is an example of ceremonial rhetoric which was first suggested by Aristotle. This branch of rhetoric commemorates or blames someone or something. However, newer theorists say that ceremonial rhetoric can be used for something more. “In important ways, the occasion for praising or blaming significant public acts and actors also afforded the opportunity to address fundamental values and beliefs that made collective political action within the democracy more than a theoretical possibility” (Hauser, G., 1999, p. 5). This quote is saying that ceremonial rhetoric can be used to call for…

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