Rhetorical Devices In Jfk Inaugural Address

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“Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” Those words, some of the most famous in American history, were spoken by John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961, the day of his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States of America. At that time the United States was deep into the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Kennedy’s speech mentions the ongoing economic and military competition between the two nations (“John F. Kennedy”). In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy uses chiasmus, repetition and emotional appeal to convince the American people to move away from conflict, and focus on progress.

In Kennedy’s speech to the American people following presidential election he uses the rhetorical device, chiasmus, to persuade the American people to move forwards into a new era with not only national, but also global progress in mind. The reversal of words, throughout several phrases of Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, add to the strength of his message by stirring national sentiments within the citizens. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”. Leading up to and during his presidency the American people were prideful, but at the same time lived in fear of opposing groups who threatened
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Kennedy persuades the American people to reconsider the priority of conflict over progress, using chiasmus, repetition, and emotional appeal. Kennedy’s speech is considered by many, one of the most profound and world-changing speeches of the 20th century. Kennedy refrains from discussing politically motivated domestic affairs, and instead focuses on foreign policy. Kennedy takes his own advice from this address, when later he urges Americans to totally reconsider the Cold War (Sorensen). John F. Kennedy’s speech has an impact, not only on his administration, or those that witnessed his speech, but also future generations that hold his ideas of peace and progress so

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