Keynote Address : Argumentative Analysis

1512 WordsOct 3, 20177 Pages
2004 DNC Keynote Address: Argumentative Analysis On July 27, 2004, Barack Obama delivered a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that catapulted him onto the national stage and decidedly set in motion the rest of his political career. In it, Obama addresses controversial topics while simultaneously maintaining an underlying theme of collaboration and common experiences. His arguments can be comprehensively analyzed following the Toulmin model of argumentation. This model consists primarily of a claim, which is the assertion the rhetor attempts to prove, supporting evidence for the claim, and a warrant connecting the evidence to the claim. Secondary elements of this model include backing supporting the warrant, the…show more content…
Obama later references himself, describing “the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too,” and declares that “it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper -- that makes this country work.” Here, he addresses the religious section of his audience with a reference to the Bible, but only after first establishing the more generalized idea in non-religious terms. In doing so, he effectively unites the religious and non-religious members of the audience with a shared belief. These instances all serve as evidence for the fundamental claim that Americans are all united, despite having different life experiences. Though Obama never explicitly states as much, the implied warrant is that it is our individualism that unites us over the things we have in common. He bases his argument on the assumption that the audience is empathetic and able to understand the circumstances of others’ lives. Not every American is a Marine, but much of the population can relate to the feelings of patriotism that Seamus expressed to Obama, and almost everyone can relate to that “skinny kid” with a desire to find a place in society. The backing for this warrant is that although we lead incredibly different lives, we can all relate to other Americans on certain basic issues, like empathy, hope, and patriotism. Obama goes on to qualify his claim of unity, stating that “we are

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