Essay on Kennedy Inauguration Rhetoric

Submitted By Mackledorf
Words: 611
Pages: 3

Ethan Kearns
Kennedy's Inauguration January 20, 1961, an unbearably wintery day, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, one of the youngest presidents in United States history, stood and addressed Vice President Johnson, the Speaker of the House, the Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, the Reverend Clergy, and his fellow citizens. In the cold with few words, Kennedy was able to warm spirits and passions of many. He carefully addressed individual issues and listeners with diction and control that still possessed power and dauntlessness. His eloquent tone and delivery shows high mastery of rhetorical principles like ethos, pathos, and logos or credibility, emotion, and logic. In his inaugural address, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often credited as one of the greatest speakers in United States history, presents sophisticated command and authority over his artful use of diction and rhetoric. President Kennedy has great control over the emotions, or pathos, of those in the audience. First notice when speaking, he did so slowly and deliberately, allowing the listener to follow along without presenting a challenge. Because it conveys a sense of confidence and assurance that someone speaking quickly would not convey, this slow pace bolsters the president's emotional impact and gives people a margin of time to process his words. Along with his delivery, Kennedy's word choice is phenomenal and carries a realism to the inanimate paragraphs with words and phrases such as "mortal", "abolish", "asunder", "patient in tribulation", "passing of the torch", "ancient heritage", and "iron tyranny." Building on his word choice he often uses chiasmus, a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point, in emotionally stirring lines such as, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." His vivid descriptions deliver a sense of presence over the subjects Kennedy is addressing and forms a emotional attachment to the lines he is reading. Kennedy, using words simple, yet creative, built his ethos, or credibility. Being a young, unproven president, ethos is an imperative aspect of his speech. With an impressive and expansive vocabulary, Kennedy sounds disciplined and trustworthy. Another strategy he deploys is humility and realism while stating, "All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in