Rhetorical Devices In Kennedy's Steel Speech

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As America entered and went through dark economic tensions, President Kennedy strived for stable prices and wages. After the largest steel companies raised steel prices by 3.5 percent, Kennedy gave a speech in response. In the speech, Kennedy calls out the steel companies for actions that were “wholly unjustifiable” and “irresponsibly defiant” to the American people. He appeals to the audience’s emotion, uses repetition, and applies logic to achieve his goal in persuading the companies to lower steel prices. Kennedy appeals to his audience’s emotions by relating to the average American, and by guilting the steel companies. After addressing the main problem, Kennedy begins his thoughts by using pathos to his advantage by explaining the current…show more content…
His use of repetition is present throughout his speech, but most used in the excerpt, “If this rise in the cost of steel is imitated by the rest of the industry, instead of rescinded, it would increase the cost of homes, autos, appliances, and most other items for every American family. It would increase the cost of machinery and tools to every American businessman and farmer. It would seriously handicap our efforts to prevent an inflationary spiral from eating up the pensions of our older citizens, and our new gains in purchasing power. It would add, Secretary McNamara informed me this morning, an estimated one billion dollars to the cost of our defenses, at a time when every dollar is needed for national security and other purposes. It would make it more difficult for American goods to compete in foreign markets, more difficult to withstand competition from foreign imports, and thus more difficult to improve our balance of payments position, and stem the flow of gold.” The phrase “it would” is used many times by Kennedy to emphasize his complaints, each time highlighting how an aspect of American society is negatively affected by the price increase. His abundant repeated use of the phrase stresses how abundant people are hurt by the companies’ decisions. In a sense, the repetition also singles out groups of people in each sentence, whether it seems he is directly sympathizing with families,
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