Rhetorical Analysis of Obama Speech Essay

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Literatures and Foreign Languages
Let Us Learn and Resource Together
23 November 2008
Rhetorical Analysis of “A More Perfect Union” Speech
The speech titled “A More Perfect Union” was delivered by Senator Barack Obama on March 18, 2008 near the historical site of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The speech responds to the video clip of Barack Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, making racially charged comments against America and Israel. The pundits and various news media outlets played the clip repeatedly on the television, radio, YouTube, and podcasts.

First, the Senator’s speech attempts to address the nation on their concerns of his affiliation with Reverend Wright. Second, the
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Finally, Senator Obama gains ethos by explaining his own genetic makeup. He states that he is “the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas… [He continues that he] is married to a Black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners… [Then, he acknowledges that he has] brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents” (Obama, par. 6).

In essence, he reveals that he has the blood of Africa, the birthplace of humanity, and the blood of a woman of French descent within him. He has married a woman who has both slave and slave owner flowing within her. Moreover, he has fathered children who have the blood of humanity: African, European, slave, and the Caucasian slave owner within them. Thus, he is an authority on race.

He states, “[his] story [is] seared into [his] genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more that the sum of its parts--that out of many, we are truly one” (Obama, par. 6). The audience revels at his remarkable story, and ethos is achieved through storytelling. In essence, Obama forges a biological connection with his audience.

The connection is strengthened through Senator Obama’s use of pathos. It is achieved through the use of emotional appeals. He alters the thoughts and feelings of his audience through storytelling, imagery, and allusion. The topic of race, within