Analysis Of Reginald Macdougall's Speech

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Due to voter apathy—voters not caring about or disliking voting—many potential voters do not vote. However, in a 2014 editorial, Reginald MacDougall argues that those people should vote, as he believes voting to be a duty for all eligible citizens. To advance this argument, MacDougall uses three main techniques: using an advantageous introduction, applying statistics and reason, and appealing to emotions. MacDougall starts his editorial by emphasizing that he is not trying to promote a partisan agenda through calling the recent 2014 United States midterm elections a “national disgrace”. While this is a minor part of the passage, it has a large impact on how readers see the piece. Firstly, underscoring this impartiality acts as an example of “ethos”; a reader who believes that MacDougall is not…show more content…
In paragraph four, he repeatedly references the history of the United States to defend his argument. He states that American soldiers and citizens have “fought and died for” the right to vote, that activists have fought to expand the right to vote, and that one-fourth of constitutional amendments have been for securing the right to vote. This makes voting sound sacred to readers due to its ties to history (patriotism), and conversely makes not voting appear immoral, as it would essentially mean those who fought for voting rights worked for nothing—or, as MacDougall puts it, apathetic voters are “[thumbing] their noses” at their efforts. MacDougall follows up on this guilt by raising the example of his father, who voted with an absentee ballot despite severe illness. This creates guilt in those who do not vote: they are doing less than a very ill person, so not voting seems lazy and unjustified. While he does not focus on pragmatic benefits of voting, MacDougall still makes a convincing case by appealing to emotions and history in a way that causes readers to feel that it is wrong not to
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