Rhetorical Analysis Of Lyndon B Johnson's We Shall Overcome Speech

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Americans have lost their lives for centuries in exchange for our nation’s freedom, but is every citizen really free? President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed congress following a police beat down during a peaceful protest in Selma, Alabama. The protest led by Martin Luther King became a turning point in American history; attacks on African American’s at Selma sparked reason in the eyes of many. Johnson used his address to Congress as a call to action, his goal was to ensure freedom and equality for all citizens; they shall not face persecution for the color of their skin. “We Shall Overcome” suggests that the text focuses on the constitutionality of the police beat down in Selma, Alabama and the concern of how our nation will overcome the issues of racism. However,…show more content…
Strong usage of diction was beneficial in the presentation of Johnson, large amount of pausing within the speech was the most common usage of diction. Known as a man of few words, Johnson had much to say when provoked. Carrying himself with dignity, using periodic pausing through the presentation of the speech “We Shall Overcome” to create depth and captivate the audience throughout his presentation. Pausing when he changes tone holds significant throughout the speech; his tone varies duringing the speech. Serious and desperate tones are implicated to call his audience to action. As a matter of fact, many instances occurred where a word or phrase is used in repetition for emphasis. Johnson used phrases over and over to grab the attention of his crowd and to create precedence within the phrases. A repeated introduction to many sentences was “there is no”; this began the structure of the sentences where he’d address generalized groups of people. There is no southern problem and there is no northern problem were monumental statements in his speech; the crowd’s reaction was a turning point for the
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