The Rhetorical Analysis Of Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech

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Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech On September 23, 1952 Richard Nixon, a candidate for vice president, gave his famous “Checkers speech” to persuade the American people and potential voters that he was an innocent family man who would never take bribes. The American populace thought he had received over 18,000 dollars worth of bribes, and for him to save his and Eisenhower’s chances of winning the election he gave a speech with an innocent family man appeal that then shifted to an accusatory voice due to his anger toward the “witch hunts”. In the beginning of Nixon’s speech he uses a common man appeal to win over supporters by suggesting that he is just like every other person. His wife is just like any middle class wife who “doesn’t have …show more content…
Nixon uses an allusion of Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote “that God must have loved the common people” to emphasizes the parallel in philosophies to one of the greatest presidents if not the greatest president. It is an establishment of the ethos argumentative technique that subconsciously compares Nixon Lincoln inside the American listeners head. Nixon also harnesses the technique of ad hominem to specifically call out the Democratic National Committee chairman holder Stevenson’s principles. It directly asserts that Stevenson is guilty, and is also used to criticize Democratic ideals. The Democratic Party was the one Nixon was running against so it would be beneficial to his campaign to see a fall in membership by slandering a key leader of the time. He effectively shifts the blame from Nixon to Stevenson. Nixon utilizes the repetition of “should” to draw attention to Stevenson’s future actions and to suggest to the American people that they need to question accusers of being guilty as well. The manipulation of imagery inducing phrases such as “money went directly into their pockets” implies the selfish misuse of funds and how deep the rot of corruption is in the political system. Lastly, Nixon once again uses colloquial like “folk” to be the spitting image of the common man and to downplay the negative aura …show more content…
His constant repetition of smears in the closing of the speech intensifies his opponent attempts to tarnish his campaign and his acknowledgement of the lingering threat of future attacks to his name. He realizes there is slander, and he sees it as a direct attack to his character. Nixon also refers back to the “Hiss case” where “some of the same columnists” were attacking him to assert the idea that he has always been a target for the media .They targeted his outspoken ways and his intense ideas he feels should be cherished. He furthers his notion by questioning “Why do I feel in spite of the smears, the misunderstanding, and the necessity for a man to come up here and bare his soul as I have? Why is it necessary for me to continue this fight?” He subtly suggests that he is not afraid to stand out against corrupt officials no matter what they try and do in return to him such as vengefully claiming he took 18,000 dollars from lobbyist. It implies he is truly dedicated to his campaign when using theses rhetorical questions. He carries the idea of fighting for what he believes in to his care for his country, which he suggest “is in danger” to establish ethos as a trustworthy leader and pathos as a passionate and caring leader. Nixon’s mastering of rhetorical devices to form a grand persuasive speech is very effective. Eisenhower persuaded to win the

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