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Woodrow Wilson War Message

Explanation of the rhetoric strategies used by Thomas Woodrow Wilson in his address to congress, 1917.

Caden Reiss

on 30 November 2016

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Transcript of Woodrow Wilson War Message

Woodrow Wilson "War Message"
Why talk about it today?
"Spreading liberty" is mentioned
New spin on foreign policy
Persuaded America into a war she didn't want
Pushed America into a whole new world
Starts disgusted, unhappy, and straight forward
action rises
falls as war necessities listed
Even sympathetic at one point
ends with a proud tone
Who's Speaking
President Woodrow Wilson is speaking to the congress of the United States of America
Historical Context
During WWI
Talks of German ruthlessness vs. our neutral nation
Wilson attempting to have war declared
Audience Views
Speaker's Purpose
Get congress to declare war
Why it's
Used great rhetorical strategies
Persuaded congress to declare war
War declared five days post address
Works Cited
Congress declared war on Germany
Senate- 82-6 April 4th
House of Representatives- 373-50 April 6th
Respectfully addresses audience
Uses a sophisticated vocabulary
Gives speech in a formal setting
Wilson is the President
Shows extensive knowledge on the subject
Demonstrates humility throughout speech
Uses appropriately emotional phrases
"The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind."
Phrase meant to evict emotional understanding
Helped congressman connect with Wilson
Understand his feeling and act accordingly
Cites instances that justify cause
Explains reasoning
Explains history leading up to
Details plan and requirements
Rhetorical Strats. 1
Tells a past story that strengthens his point
True story of Germans sinking innocent ship
Ship was bringing supplies to war refugees
Brings emotional and logical reasons
Rhetorical Strats. 2
Repeats "It will involve"
Drives the point this must be taken seriously
Also breaks up long list of requirements
Helps keep audience's attention
Rhetorical Strats. 3
Plot Development
Begins with past events
Leads up to present ideas
Begins somewhat ambiguous
Ends with a clear motivation and idea
Rhetorical Strats 4.
Holds a theme of good vs. evil
His side is good & innocent
The Germans are evil
Pulls on emotions- pathos
Claims democracy is also good
Must make the world open for it
Rhetorical Strats. 5
Uses an innocent tone
Also reluctant but necessary to act
Sympathizes with audience
This appeals to logos and pathos
Worked in Wilson's favor
Congress declared war
America entered WWI on April 6th 1917
This was the whole point of speech
Nearly uncontested majority
Senate- 82-6
House- 373-50
Full transcript