Rhetorical Analysis Of Jfk Inaugural Address

794 Words4 Pages

John F Kennedy: Setting up for Success America looks to its presidents to have strong leadership and clear intentions. John F Kennedy exemplified these expectations when he addressed the nation in his 1961 Inaugural Speech to America in which he advocates for universal unity. Kennedy stresses his point by defining his hopes for the country and employing patriotic values. He is trying to encourage cooperation in order to ensure he has a successful and meaningful presidency. The speech shifts between reflective and hopeful tones to keep America looking towards the future but still acknowledging where they came from. To achieve his message for collective internationalism, Kennedy talks with patriotic appeal, intentional syntax, and rhetorical …show more content…

The beginning of this speech calls on the respected values America has and later broadens it to worldwide values and potentials. He starts by reminding the audience that they are there for a “celebration of freedom” and assures them that his presidency will ensure the “success of liberty.” By mention of freedom and liberty, Kennedy draws on the core principles the country is standing on that he will be expected to uphold. Regardless of their political party, the people listening to his address cannot refute the importance of such ideas. With this, Kennedy establishes credibility for himself as a patriot and a strong leader, and he loosens divides by introducing a common theme. As it continues, the speech turns directly outward to other world groups. Kennedy addresses other nations, assemblies, people, states, and allies, and suggests to them that “together [they] explore the stars…eradicate disease…and encourage the arts and commerce.” The diction of this proposition elicits a sense of hope, and encourages others to support his cause. By transitioning from a national to international scope, he takes the support of his country with him when he advocates for, and by his use of the word “together,” he assures this unity will not be exclusive. Combined, the choices to appeal to the entire audience as unified creates an excitement in the listeners …show more content…

One of the most famous JFK quotes, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” comes from this inaugural address. It left an impact on American history in the way it is phrased by repeating the same concepts in reverse order. By contrasting both asking for change from the country and being the one to instill change, Kennedy challenges everyone listening to take the future into their own hands and asks them to be part of his vision. He creates the subtext that there is potential for progress with the willing help of everyone. A similarly effective sentence structure is used when he articulates, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The antithesis between points lets the audience know that Kennedy won’t hide from a conflict in any capacity. He has a firm and confident presence which creates reassurance before he jumps into a request for union and cooperation from everyone. The next paragraphs repeat the phrase “Let both sides” followed by a different, strong, positive action verb. This repetition ties into his previous call for negotiation which he believes will foster peace. CONCLUDING

Open Document