Lyndon B Johnson Speech Rhetorical Analysis

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In March of 1965, thousands of Americans black and white began the 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. All the men and women of the crowd had the same agenda of protesting in favor of Black Civil Rights, but along the way encountered state police who proceeded to brutally beat the crowd on national television1. As news of this horrific event spread through the screens and radios of America President Lyndon B. Johnson stood by creating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to ensure that every American regardless of Race or Gender could legally and without confliction have the right to vote. Shortly thereafter on March 15, 1965 Johnson took to the podium and in front of cabinet members and foreign ambassadors proceeded to deliver the speech…show more content…
He enforces his credibility by saying that his “Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books—and I have helped to put three of them there—can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it (1). Johnson reminds the world that he is not just a man speaking into a microphone in front of a crowd, but a man with hard-earned experience in the trials America currently is facing. He implies that he has seen and experienced if not all, but a great deal and that he intends to apply his experiences to America’s issues. He mentions that he has already “helped to put three [laws]” in the books and that they are still there (1). Through these words he reminds America of his authority and his influence. He reminds Americans of his authority as their leader to enforce and engrave these policies of equality into the foundation of America regardless of whether those who are opposed to the idea care or not. Lyndon B. Johnson implies that he is not a force to be reckoned with. He will not stand for the injustice of those in his country and those of his fellow Americans and what he says and does will be complied…show more content…
As Johnson ends his speech in front Congress and Foreign Ambassadors he directs his last words towards the American people. He says “Their cause must be our cause too, because it is not just Negroes but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome....This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all— all black and white, all North and South, sharecropper and city dweller...we shall overcome” (2). By using this language to close his speech Johnson ignites hope in Americans that this somewhat drastic change in America’s society is not the end of the world. If anything it is a new victory for America. He describes the nation as “great, rich, [and] restless” to give Americans reason to be proud of its country and its actions (2). He says this country “can offer opportunity and education and hope to all” (2). When he says this Johnson breaks down the barriers dividing America. Any possible opportunity is an opportunity to everyone. And together “we shall overcome” (2). Just ending this loaded speech with those three words is genius because Johnson unites America by saying “we” but also ensures its future
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