The Power of a United Nation On 1945, when the war on chaos finally went to an end, everything seemed to be going optimistic, however, without notice, the United States landed into another battlefield, the Cold War, which developed a rivalry and a sense of thread between two of the world powers. For the above reason, on January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy delivered in his inaugural address a sense of self-independence, security, and patriotism using rhetorical devices and rhetorical appeals to eradicate the results and effects of the Cold War.
Historical Background The Cold War resulted after the end of WWII, when two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, began to generate a rivalry due to an excess of competition regarding power, that was then transformed into a long period of tension. It is called the Cold War because, indeed, such conflict never caused an actual war, however, multiple battles actually took place. In addition, the major conflicts that involved the Cold War were: the spread of communism among the world, the space race, and the competition of armaments between the United States and the Soviet Union.
America’s ideologies and actions were against communism. Programs like, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan provided the enough assistance to help the devastated countries after WWII to avoid them fell into communism, which carried a massive fear among American citizens. Moreover, Space race initiated because the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, which proved that the United States was one step behind the Soviet Union. For that reason, the United States began to increase their technology and weaponry while the Soviet Union was doing the same.
John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy was raised in a competitive family, which demanded a high intellect and an acquaintance of several skills. He was directed into the doctrine of the Roman Catholic religion, which later on brings a massive impact in history because when he won the presidential election, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic president of the United States. In addition, Kennedy’s family had higher standards towards politics in their family.
Consequently, when JFK older brother, Joe, dies all the family’s political standard passed to Kennedy, who was by that time enlisted and with future ideas of pursuing an academic or journalist career. Consequently, John F. Kennedy gets involved in politics being tremendously successful as he never disappointed his family because he never lost an election. Kennedy served three terms in the House of Representatives, supporting several causes as, for instance, he advocated better working conditions, more public housing, higher wages, lower prices, cheaper rents, and more Social Security for the aged.
In foreign policy, he was an early supporter of Cold War policies being supportive of policies like the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine. Also, the success that surrounded John F. Kennedy later on is exposed as the “Kennedy Style”, which also involved his wife and children. This style involves glamour and elitist, charisma and easy wit, Jacqueline Kennedy’s beautifulness and fashion sense, the charm of their children, and the intelligence of his advisors, graduated from Harvard, that always surrounded him.
Under those circumstances, in January 1960 John F. Kennedy formally announced his presidential candidacy making it a victory when he steps in front of 500,000 individuals and recited his inaugural address. As said before, Kennedy entered presidency at the time that America was being involved in the Cold War which makes his speech being the perfect resource to communicate his strategies and ideologies to defeat the conflicts that were surrounding the nation. The speech is mostly directed to the fellow citizens as always, but also to the enemies outside the county.
Rhetorical Analysis Kennedy implemented several rhetorical devices and rhetorical appeals, like, alliteration, antithesis, and logos, to make his inaugural address became additionally influential and stronger to his audience. For example, Kennedy stated, “Let us go forth to lead the land we love… ” In this excerpt, Kennedy implemented alliteration by repeating the letter “l” which provides an emphasis to the words beginning with “l” transforming them into powerful words with a meaning beyond their literal denotation.
Because the words “Let”, “lead”, “land”, and “love” involve alliteration, the addressees focus their attention on those words, persuading their ideology, making them believe that indeed their patriotism is real, by concentrating their minds on the word “love”, even thought that in some cases aren’t true In another example, President Kennedy stated, “Pay any price, bear any burden… ” In this excerpt, the president is focusing the audience’s attention into the phrase with the support of alliteration.
In the above sentence, the sound that letter “p” evokes its stronger like the letter “b”, which provokes a feeling of authority by the mandate that he is trying to achieve. The strong sound emitted makes the citizens feel that they need to obey such mandates, accomplishing one of the goals that Kennedy was trying to realize, making every individual responsible for their own country and not vice versa. Moreover, President Kennedy utilizes antithesis, for instance, when he recites, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. In this sentence, the use of antithesis makes the emphasis of the message stronger at the time of contrasting the idea of what an individual can offer to its country instead of what he or she can obtain from it. This contrast makes the listeners evaluate their own actions to look forward to selfindependence by realizing how can they serve their nation, and also the use of antithesis contributes to an increase of individual patriotism.
In addition, the antithesis is also implemented when Kennedy states, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. In this excerpt, one can appreciate how the same words in a different order can transform the connotation of fear within the phrase. The use of antithesis persuades the audience by contrasting how fear should not make an individual feel, therefore, the sense of thread vanishes when antithesis appears, bringing a sense of security instead of fear, in which the Cold War was contributing. Additionally, President Kennedy establishes pathos as a rhetorical appeal throughout his speech appealing to the citizens’ patriotism, which was of mere importance for having a success during the Cold War.
Kennedy reminds the audience of the past and the present when he states, “the first revolution” and the current generation, “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage. ” By making this comparison Kennedy recalls how the principles on which this nation was founded, for example, freedom, were of significant value during the ancient times, and how now this generation has the dedication to make that value prevail regardless of what communism had to offer.
Furthermore, after spreading a patriotic spirit, Kennedy makes a call to his audience to take an action towards this world to make it a safer place to live. To achieve this goal, Kennedy establishes pathos when he appeals to the emotional side of those who had lost loved ones by telling them, “The graces of young Americans who answered the call of service surround the globe. ” This quote serves to inspire the nation to stand up and make them realize that those honorable deaths have not been in vain with actions that will make this country more successful than any other country again.
In a brief word, JFK wisely involved the use of rhetorical devices and appeals within the above excerpts by persuading the audience in an innovating approach using alliteration, antithesis, and pathos. Because of such devices, indeed, influenced the mindset of the addresses Kennedy’s inaugural address turn out to be stronger and inspirational to advocate individuals to eradicate every problem that might affect their success or purpose and life. Significance and Effects When John F. Kennedy finished reciting his speech the whole nation’s atmosphere went through a change.
Inside of every individual’s soul a compartment full of inspiration, rejoice, and nationalism began to be spread all over their depth. As a matter of fact, every word that came out of Kennedy’s lips impacted not only adults, but it was of significant impact for the young generation. For instance, Birch, a young citizen, with 19 years old remembers that day as something “invigorated” Birch stated, “Feeling at the end of the speech, man, this really makes me want to do something, to contribute.
Kennedy’s discourse awaked the young generation to participate in something more than just the general role of every individual, instead, people like Birch went beyond of only having a simple career but they pursue more than a professional platform, to later on be offered in vice versa to his nation, thanks to the words of encouragement that once were listened by every young heart. Furthermore, 50 years later the infamous “Ask not… ” still is making an influence in every individual that hears those inspirational words.
Andrew Collier, 21, from Tennessee stated, “You think about it and it still clicks today, thinking about what you can do instead of trying to see what other people can do for you,” It is clear to say that on a beautiful January 20th, 1961. John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address has achieved more that its principal purposes. In fact, the speech opened the doors of patriotism, security, and self-independence to every individual that heard it, but more than that, it created a different dimension to those who didn’t believe in their talents.
The speech gives the enough motivation to make individuals recognize their role in society and take responsibility of their own country. It provided the encouragement for those who needed to fight for a new purpose in life, with the determination of making this country, the Unites States, a better place for the ones who here are born and the new generation that is coming into place.