Ronald Reagan Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In 1980, at the age of 69, Ronald Reagan accepted the nomination to run as the Republican candidate for the office of the President of the United States. Before declaring himself as a republican, he used to hold a very liberal democrat point of view. But, after changing his beliefs, he spoke consistently on several major themes (Medhurst, 2016). Reagan also, having been an actor, been the President of the Screen Actors Guild, worked for multiple political campaigns, ran and served as the Governor of California, and ran for the President of the United States twice before his campaign in 1980, had plenty of practice with public speaking and rhetoric (Marez, 2016). He was a man who had won the hearts of many Americans and set himself up for a landslide victory in his campaign.
Type, Purpose, and Audience Reagan’s speech is an acceptance speech, classifying it as an epideictic speech, or a speech that is used at formal or ceremonious events for the purpose of praising or blaming (Lauer, 2015). In this case, Reagan is thanking and praising the Republican Party for choosing him to run as their candidate in the general
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Throughout his speech he asked the audience a question to get them to think about the argument he was going to state next, and this also creates a need for him to answer his own question. For example, he said “Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, “Well done?”” (line 93) before moving on to his argument that the administration had done poorly. He does this again on lines 155-156 when he says “When those in leadership give us tax increases and tell us we must also do with less, have they thought about those who have always had less – especially the minorities?” before giving a major point for his argument. Rhetorical questions have been used since at least the 1800s, and have been found to generally be effective with getting a message across to an audience (Ahluwalia,
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