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Jfk Inauguration Speech

1126 words - 5 pages

Axel Twenge
COMM 1021

John F. Kennedy was inaugurated on January 20th, 1961. At this time, America was in the middle of the cold war. The soviets had launched sputnik, Fidel Castro recently came into power, and he installed a communist government in Cuba. Truman’s containment policy was still in the forefront of American’s minds. Not to mention, America was also in the midst of the civil rights movement. Kennedy’s election came at a very pivotal time in history, not only was America fighting for foreign freedom but also Americans were fighting for domestic freedom.
In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy instantly creates his ethos: “Vice President Johnson, Mr. ...view middle of the document...

This quote is full of feeling; his use of pathos is clear and apparent. Kennedy continues to show off the build of his character, when he finishes his speech by once again establishing that he is an unselfish leader who believes in a higher power: “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” Not only is he stressing his ethos as a man of God here, he is also placing some weight on his pathos by referencing “God’s work”. A majority of Americans at this time were firm believers that their nation was built “under God”, and Kennedy plays off of this faith perfectly.
The Cold War was running pretty hot at this point and time, so Kennedy uses patriotism to evoke emotion from Americans. He reminds his audience of the parallels between “the first revolution” and the current generation, “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage.” He refers to the core American value of liberty because every American, especially at this time, holds liberty and freedom close to their hearts. Not only is his use of pathos obvious, his use of logos is vivid. By comparing the first American Revolution to the current state of affairs, he draws a clear connection to the basic American ideals. Although a difficult task to undertake, Kennedy assures his audience that he has faith in their generation. Claiming he would never wish to be part of a different generation, he proclaims, “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.” This quote encompasses the trifecta of: ethos, logos, and pathos. His credibility is undeniable at this point in the speech; he has already laid the groundwork to gain the public’s respect and uses it to inspire them. He also stays consistent with his claims about the greatness of this generation. He uses key words like, “energy, faith, and devotion” to bring the American people forward into the future of their country, at such an unstable time....

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