Rhetorical Analysis of JFK's Inauguration Speech Essay

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy delivered one of the most important American speeches after being sworn in as president on January 20, 1961. His inauguration speech was so influential that it seized the nation’s attention, and quotes from it are still clearly remembered by people today. It is considered one of the best speeches ever written and ever delivered. It presents a strong appeal to pathos, ethos, and logos and accomplishes what any speaker strives for – it speaks straight to the heart of the audience and inspires people. John F Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States and at 43 years old he was the youngest president to take office. Because of his youth, he stumbled upon much skepticism from his opposition and even a little…show more content…
The Kennedy family was very popular and had well-known moral standards, so it is no surprise that in John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech there were constant examples of ethos, in which he appealed to the audience through moral values. His moral standpoint became apparent as he mentions God and doing the right thing. “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth and to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing here on earth God’s work must truly be our own” (Kennedy par 27). Kennedy recognizes his presidential duties and acknowledges the trust that has been placed in him to lead the country when he stated: “I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it” (Kennedy par 24). With the Vietnam War affecting so many people across the world, Kennedy took extreme caution in what he said. His use of pathos includes many patriotic expressions and words to unite Americans. His phrases like “forge against these enemies,” (Kennedy par 23) “cultural and spiritual origins” (Kennedy par 6) and “a celebration of freedom” (Kennedy par 1) imply that the war is not simply a political issue, but a moral responsibility. On the other hand, though these phrases offer a feeling of civic duty, nothing compares to the legendary quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country” (Kennedy par 25). This message is so powerful because it speaks of

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