Rhetorical Analysis Of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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It was a snowy morning of many firsts – first inaugural address televised in color, first election of a candidate under 45 years of age, and first presidential appointment with a mere 100,000 vote margin of victory. On January 20, 1961, at the age of 43, John F. Kennedy stepped in front of the American people to deliver his inaugural address. As the 35th president of the United States, JFK became the leader of the country during a tremulous time. Americans, just rising from the anguish of World War II and the Korean War, were now facing the threats of the Vietnam War and Cold War. All this violence instilled fear in the minds of the nation. In addition to external threats, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum within the country, stirring sentiments of national dissatisfaction. Many Americans, anxious and conflicted, hesitated when a young, “unexperienced” President just barely won office. JFK’s awareness of the significance of this address lead him to successfully harness his youthfulness and redirect it as a means to invigorate the American people. On that winter morning, Kennedy succeeded in his goal to increase America’s confidence, both in himself and in the country, by engaging the public with his language and imagery, cultivating feelings of empowerment and calls to action, as he conveyed his messages not solely through words but also through visions. Kennedy begins the address by appealing to his ethos as he speaks about the American legacy he willingly

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