Rhetorical Analysis Of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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After winning the presidential election by a narrow vote, John Fitzgerald Kennedy needed to win the hearts of the Americans in a time of tension and stress in the world. In his inaugural address, Kennedy explained how the American people share common heritage and, in one way or another, they all strive for similar purposes and ideals. Therefore, a unification of the American people would be beneficial to the country which, in turn, would support the world. The speech Kennedy made on his inauguration day was rich with provocative figurative language and filled with eloquent rhetorical devices that all served to the delivery of his purpose. 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
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Kennedy’s inaugural address makes use of a variety of rhetorical strategies in order to convince the Americans that they made the right choice for a president and he will help unify the nation. Kennedy’s speech is a textbook example of how to weave rhetorical devices into writing while staying focused. Without the use of the above mentioned strategies and many unmentioned others, Kennedy’s speech would not be effective rhetoric. Kennedy effectively persuaded his audience that his purpose, unity, should be a common goal among the American citizens through the skillful use of rhetorical

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