William Rode Bager (RL)
Reclaiming the American Dream
In 2007, Barack Obama announced his desire to become President of the United States. He succeeded in 2008, and was elected as the American President. However, the path to become the president was not easy. In one of his speeches, namely the one he held in Iowa in November 2007, he deals with the American dream, and how he believes that The United States can reclaim ‘The American Dream’.
In this historical period (2007), the necessity of a new leadership was necessary. The reason for this was the Great Unemployment during the Great ...view middle of the document...
Due to the limitation of this assignment, I have narrowed down my focus and hence have only looked at ethos in Obama’s speech “Reclaiming the American Dream” (2007), and compare it to the poem “Let America be America again” by Langston Hughes (1936) and their use of pathos. It is important to notice that the speech is different from the poem as the objectives behind them differ. Thus, the speech holds a deliberative and political agenda compared to the poem, which is a form of literary art and communicates to a completely other audience.
Firstly, I examined the “Reclaiming the American Dream” by Obama. Throughout the speech, he uses “we”, “our” and “together” numerous times, which appeals to people's character and morality as he includes himself when he talks about situations and things that people have gone through. The reason why he includes himself is to capture his audience and let them know what he personally has gone through. In this way, he connects his own experience to ordinary people’s daily lives, as he wants you to remember that he is like anyone else regardless of his professional career.
In this speech, Obama uses ethos in the second part when he talks about necessary changes that needs to happen in United States. It begins with: "But this is about more than George W. Bush". Here he mentions the previous President, and how he was completely opposite of the American people and further explains how he intends to change the situation of America and be a better President. Obama’s focus replies on the individual American instead of his party’s "political interests". In the following quote, ethos is profound: ”This starts with an economy that works for working people. [...] That's why I'm introducing an American Dream agenda [...] As President, I'll get tough on enforcement and raise penalties on lenders who have broken the rules.” In these paragraphs, the President uses ethos to solidify his credibility by outlining his power as commander. Again, he repeats what George W. Bush did wrong to emphasize how he wants to change the lives of Americans into the better from what it used to be. Moreover, he specifies concrete problems to further strengthen his credibility. As a rhetorical tool, ethos is one of the strongest way to convince and appeal as a leader to 300 millions of people. As it is clear from the quotes above, one of Obama’s strengths as a speaker is his ability to...