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JFK Inaugural Address
Transcript of JFK Inaugural Address
By: Noell, Jose, Anthony, and Alexandra
This famous speech portrays John F. Kennedy's inauguration as the 35 president of the United States on January 20,1961. Kennedy was part of the Democratic party and was the youngest president to be elected. He ran against former Vice-President Richard Nixon, in one of the closest elections in U.S history. His margin over Nixon was only 118,00 out of 69 million votes. The campaign was ran by rising Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union, while in Cuba Fidel Castro's regime became a close ally with the communists. At the time, public opinion polls revealed more than half of the American people believed war with the Soviet Union was inevitable.
Historical Context (Jose)
John F Kennedy's claim was that the U.S could achieve peace and freedom. In his Inaugural address he stated "We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal, as well as change." By that he is reaching out to every part of the world and offering a release, as well as wanting the people to be involved with their Country.
Kennedy provides various benefits of following his beliefs in order to support his claims. “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world (Kennedy).” He then states, “Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty (Kennedy).” This makes the audience aware of history and gives them the impression that creating change is their responsibility. Next, Kennedy asks the crowd “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country (Kennedy).” Here, the use of a rhetorical question influences the audience greater thought to act sooner.
Rhetorical Modes (Anthony & Alex)
The Speech was delivered by John F. Kennedy as his Inaugural Address. This speech was addressed to the American citizens and politicians. The audience also included the following: Independent Nations, allies , the Soviet Union & republicans. Kennedy used emotions to keep his audience intrigued.
John Kennedy utilizes rhetorical modes to enhance the importance of his speech. Ethos is included when he states "Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom – symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning – signifying renewal, as well as change (Kennedy).” This gives the audience the idea that they are of higher importance by hearing the same speech as vital role players. Next, he refers to American patriotism to represent pathos by mentioning “...born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage (Kennedy).” The past is connected to his speech making people believe that change must occur because they want to be patriotic.
Message and Purpose (Jose)
With the current issues of the Cold War, Kennedy had to make a good impression addressing the nation. His purpose was to project a commanding image of himself to the American people, to show that he had what it took to lead the country. The main message of the speech was that as citizens of a democracy, they could only thrive if each and every citizen contributed to their country. He states "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Kennedy also speaks about the topic of nuclear war saying, "For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life." The president's message was that technology could either save or end mankind.
"Campaign of 1960." - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
"Poetry and Power-The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy." - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
Throughout JFK's inaugural speech he demonstrated a sense of compassion, confidence, and knowledge. Without his use of argumentative appeals JFK would not be able to reach out and influence as many people as he did. JFK demonstrated a great deal of confidence while insuring the people a plan to a more peaceful and free America. By displaying confidence he was able to gain the confidence of the people as well. Using a great deal of ethos he made the speech applicable to all social classes. Using ethos to relate to all social classes he was able to obtain a larger following from the American Citizens. Overall his usage of appeals made it possible for him to gain the support he received from the country.
"JFK Inaugural Address." - Kennedy's Inaugural Speech." - The American Presidency Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.