Summary Of Free Speech In Wartime

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The author of this document was Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr., an American Republican Progressive politician, and governor of Wisconsin, who wrote the “Free Speech in Wartime”. The document was a famous speech that was given on the floor of the Senate that opposed the entry of the United States in World War I. The speech was delivered on October 6, 1917 and the audience intended was the American people, the government officials, and President Woodrow Wilson. In 1917, the US entered World War I, because of Germany’s attacks against neutral unarmed ships and liners, secret communication with Mexico, and sinking of the American’s merchant ships. The events taken place in this period explains the author’s strong use of persuasive rhetoric, argumentative tone and diction against the entry of the United Stated in World War I.
Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr.’s main purpose in his speech was to defend his right and the American’s people
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The author formulates three main arguments. The first argument he addresses is that the war will create financial problems for regular American people. For example, the author stated “…staggering under the burden of supporting families” and “those who pay taxes come to have their taxes doubled and again doubled to pay interest”. The author uses this form of rhetoric to convey to the president the consequences the American people will be faced with regarding this decision to enter the war. The author’s second argument rebutted President Woodrow Wilson’s statement in his speech and argues that the president contradicts himself since one of his arguments was to spread democracy to other nations, however, the president creates an alliance with non-democratic nations. The author uses this form of rhetoric to dispel the notion of spreading democracy to other nations and promoting peace to the world is not the sole purpose the president