Essay on Speech Analysis of President Obama's Inaugeral Address

Submitted By Joe-Imperiale
Words: 744
Pages: 3

On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Following his oath, he gave his inaugural speech to “the people”. He begins by addressing his audience as his “fellow citizens”. This gives his audience a sense of relating. It shows that he is one of them, and can therefore be more trustworthy and/or credible. He continues on, thanking president Bush for his service to his country. Not only is that a nice gesture, but it also gives off the perception that he is respectful, as he gives uncertain credit to old George, rather than throwing him under the bus. During his inauguration, Barack uses many strategies and motivational tactics to persuade America of his promising and uplifting visions of the country’s future. When Obama explains that sometimes the president’s oath is taken “amidst gathering clouds and raging storms,” he is reminding us that though we may be in a bit of a rut right now, there have been harder times in the past. He goes on to remind us that we have survived those hardships. This use of psychographics is a soft approach to address the soreness that is on everyone’s minds, and he makes sure to rebut that these challenges “will be met.” At one point in his speech, the president uses a quote from the scripture. I believe this is used purely to raise the attention of the large number of Christians (and denominations) in the United States. Although our country is diverse, there are still trending demographics among certain groups. Many groups like it when the president can identify with them. It makes them feel that the country is in the hands of someone on the same page as they are.
In an attempt at utilizing pathos, Obama has us recall what our ancestors have done for us. They worked until their hands were raw, to help us achieve what we have today. He said we must use our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart. These statements emanate a certain compassion and thankfulness to their listeners. Ethos is used a few times during the speech as well, where Barack convinces America that “we will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people.” He says this in a way that makes us feel that it is the right thing to do. “It is our kindness that gets us through…” he explains, as he cites an example of workers who cut their hours just so a friend is able to keep their job. “We have duties to ourselves, our nation, and our world.” He gives the added incentive that it is “satisfying to our spirit.”
Obama uses certain vivid descriptions and metaphors to help us to visualize his words. When talking about other nations that may or may not be tolerable of this country’s varied cultures and beliefs, he states that “We [America] are willing to extend a hand, if you [other nations] are…