Pathos In Nixon's Speech

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Register to read the introduction… From his initial appearance

on television Nixon presents himself as a man who is wrongfully under attack: “I come before you tonight

as a candidate for the Vice-Presidency and as a man whose honesty and integrity have been questioned”

(“Nixon” 1). Throughout the speech Nixon attempts to present himself as a common citizen under attack.

Critics felt that Nixon’s speech was a “strange mixture of pathos and candor” (“Nixon Fights…” 25). When

talking about those who are attacking him it is impossible not to notice the absolute disdain in his voice

when he utters the word “smear.” Nixon is using pathos to show his supporters that he is truly distressed

about the false accusations.

Another way Nixon uses pathos at the end of his speech is by reading the letter a nineteen-year-old girl

wrote to him. The letter tells how her husband is fighting in Korea, and how she has faith that “great

Americans” like Eisenhower and Nixon will bring him home safely (“Nixon” 9). Nixon is drawing on a

sense of patriotism here that he feels all Americans should be having towards the cause he
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Altogether, Nixon’s speech was a critical success. As a result of his speech he retained his spot on the

Republican ticket for vice-president. Nixon went up against everyone who was telling him it was best to

resign and proved that complete honesty usually never fails. In this speech he set a precedent for future

politicians to come. It would have been easy for Nixon to resign his nomination or simply deny the

allegations. But, in his autobiography he explains how he found the strength within himself to rise to the

occasion of this pivotal speech: “if you have made a final decision after thorough consideration of all the

options, you fill find within yourself the calm, confidence, and strength to perform far beyond your

expectations”(Nixon 178). Nixon’s speech not only outdid his personal expectations, but it exceeded the

expectations of most watching the speech.

So, why will Nixon’s speech be remembered in 100 years? This question is easy to answer. Nixon was a

pioneer in speech making. It is hard for people to read his speech in the 21st century and realize how

truly groundbreaking Nixon’s speech was at the time it was given because so many politicians

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