December 12 2014
The Checkers Speech
Richard Nixon served as president from 1969-1974. However The Checkers speech was given in 1952 young Nixon had been asked by Eisenhower to be his running mate at the Republican national convention. A few days after Nixon was put on the ballet a headline came out about using money given to him by his supporters in his speech he claims that the only gift he kept was a dog named Checkers. When asked if he was going to resign from the ticket or continue to run for vice president Nixon responded with his famous checkers speech. Nixon starts out his speech by defending himself against the accusations of illegally spending the money of his supporters, he tells his audience exactly how much he and his family earn which he continually says isn’t much. This relates himself back to his audience which consists of average joes who know how it feels to make a minimal amount of money. Next he mentions whether or not using the money is wrong “Now, was that wrong? And let me say that it was wrong—I'm saying, incidentally, that it was wrong and not just illegal. Because it isn't a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn't enough. The question is, was it morally wrong? I say that it was morally wrong if any of that $18,000 went to Senator Nixon for my personal use ” this lets his audience know that he is owning up to his action as well as defend his character he later mentions that he never used the money for his personal use but to fund his campaign trip. He later says that the only thing that he has every kept from a supporter was a puppy who his six year old daughter named checkers. All of these things appeal to his audiences emotions. Nixon reminds the American people that he too is a family man just like the rest of them. Nixon appeals to his audience’s logic by showing them facts. Gives his audience an insight of his financial history from the time he was born to the time the speech. This allows the audience to trust him because of how vulnerable he makes himself to the people.
It can be argued that Nixon’s rhetoric is fairly simple. The reason may be that as time progresses the country becomes more democratic “In the early republic, presidents could assume that they were speaking to audiences made up mostly of men like themselves: educated, civic-minded landowners. These, of course, were the only Americans with the right to vote. But over time, the franchise expanded and presidential appeals had to reach a broader audience.”( Thompson) . and so because of this Nixon focuses mainly of the defense of his character and gaining the American peoples trust. Needless to say soon after this speech was delivered the amount of Eisenhower-Nixon supporters skyrocketed.
My Fellow Americans:
I come before you tonight as a candidate for the Vice Presidency and as a man whose honesty and integrity have been questioned.
The usual political thing to do when charges are made against you is to either ignore them or to deny them without giving details.
I believe we've had enough of that in the United States, particularly with the present Administration in Washington, D.C. To me the office of the Vice Presidency of the United States is a great office and I feel that the people have got to have confidence in the integrity of the men who run for that office and who might obtain it.
I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that's why I'm here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.
I am sure that you have read the charge and you've heard that I, Senator Nixon, took $18,000 from a group of my supporters.
Now, was that wrong? And let me say that it was wrong—I'm saying, incidentally, that it was wrong and not just illegal. Because it isn't a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn't enough. The question is, was it morally wrong?
I say that it…