Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Devices

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During times of disaster we need strong leaders to show us a path. In the United States whenever an emergency comes up, presidents lead the country forward with powerful speeches. These speeches gain their power through the use of appealing language by writers. President Clinton’s speech to OKC and President Lincoln’s to Gettysburg are known for using devices such as allusion and repetition to solidify their points. To begin, the use of allusion can be seen in both accounts, but why use that device? In a famous portion from the Gettysburg Address it states, “Four score and seven years ago…”, a reference to the birth of the country. This alludes to the idea of unity, an idea that is needed during a time like the Civil War. Lincoln is known for his speeches of unifying the nation so it is a positive back up for his argument. Allusion is a device that can also be used to reference a dark time. In his speech to Oklahoma City, Clinton alludes to Pan Am 103, a plane that went down with 200 Americans on board. He restates a quote given by a widow that mentions using …show more content…

Repetition adds a sense of urgency, a useful addition in speeches like these. An excerpt from the Gettysburg Address states the following: “...we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground”. The repeated use of “we can not” cements the idea that the American people can not honor the dead because they have already honored themselves. This is the idea that Lincoln is pushing for in this speech. Clinton is also guilty of using repetition to solidify his point as a portion of his speech says, “We mourn you, We share your hope against hope that some may still survive. We thank all those who have worked so heroically to…”. In that portion, the repeated use of we shows the idea that this is something that every American is dealing with and that it is not a single struggle, a point that Clinton wanted to

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