"What Is an American" Speech Analysis

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“What is an American?” This speech, given by Harold Ickes in May of 1941, banded its audience together in a fight for World War II. The speech can be classified as many different things; some might say that it is persuasive, others motivational. Whatever title one might choose to brand it with, one thing is irrefutable; the speech itself does its duty by capturing the attention of its audience through language and technique. Ickes’ speech to the American people was very successful in rallying his points because of the way in which he chose to deliver it. Rather than deliver a formal speech, he addressed the American public very personally. This can be seen as he repeatedly used the terms “I”, “our”, “we”, and so forth. The “our” and “we”…show more content…
Further more, it implied that something was threatening the American democracy, the foundation upon which we rely, and the one thing that ensures the continued freedom that is so precious to the American public. One technique that Ickes commonly used throughout his speech was repetition. This was very effective because it stressed the importance of the issue at hand. It also helped to maintain the audiences’ attention and keep them on track; for example, “We, free, democratic Americans are…We know that the spirit of freedom…We know that men have fought and bled…” As he begins a new point he begins each of the sentences within that point with the same word such as “we”, or “An American” and so on. Something that is noticeably important about the content of this speech is Ickes’ word choice. He kept the wording simple and easy to follow. This way he could communicate with all of the American people. His choice of words also made the speech easier to put emotion and depth into. Although I have never personally seen the speech delivered I could feel the meaning behind it as I heard the words in my head. There was a depth and passion about the subject that Ickes meant
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