Essay about Rhetorical Strategies Used by President George W. Bush

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Rhetorical Strategies Used by President George Bush After the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

On September 11, 2001, the Islamist terrorist group known as al-Qaeda launched a series of terrorist attacks on the United States of America, specifically in the New York City and Washington D.C areas. Nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes with the intention of using them as suicide attacks that would crash those planes into designated buildings, or targets. Two of the four passenger jets were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, both of which collapsed entirely within two hours of being hit. The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon, and the west side of the building, which is the
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Because of the purpose of Bush’s address, there is an exigency that is both very important and specific. Bush is responding to an attack that happened that same day, which gives his speech a sense of relevance and urgency, because as the leader of the country that was just attacked, he needs to ensure that the government programs and leaders remained intact, so that his people did not spiral into chaos and disarray. Also, because the World Trade Center was a center for global commerce, its destruction could have potentially caused damage to both the Manhattan and global economy. This provides its own exigency, because Bush needed to reassure the world of the stability of the economy in order to avoid further widespread panic.

Because of the purpose of his address, the discourse that Bush employs in his speech is epideictic. Epideictic discourse is concerned with praise and blame, and also attempts to form attitudes, which is what Bush does in his address to the nation. Bush is attempting to satiate the fears of the American people in his speech, and is also using his address to the nation’s citizens as an opportunity to attempt to instill an attitude of strength and determination within them.

Bush consistently employs several rhetorical strategies in order to establish his credibility throughout his address. The primary way that Bush establishes this credibility is by using his speech to

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