On 20th January, 2009, President Barrack Obama delivered an amazing inauguration speech in front of around two million citizens of America. The speech delivered in the US capitol located in Washington Dc attracted a lot of local as well as international attention. The inauguration speech was delivered during a time of hardship for United States, “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood” (The White House blog). President Barack Obama had worn election on 4th November, 2008 to become the 44th president in the history of America (American Rhetoric). After years of Bush’s administration, the people of America wanted a new beginning to everything and so placed their faith on President Barack Obama to restore the America hope and ease them of their burdens plus come up with their ongoing solutions, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord” (The White House blog). Around the time the speech was delivered, America as a country faced great challenges which the incoming president was required to address in his speech and offer solutions (American Rhetoric). The nation at that time wanted a speech that addressed their immediate issues like economic crisis, terrorism, wars etcetera. Therefore, this paper will provide an analysis of the inauguration speech of President Barack Obama, ethos, pathos, logos plus mythos, then finally a summary.
President Barack Obama organizes his inaugural speech through first providing an overview of the given problems faced by Americans, then dividing the problems into foreign and domestic problems (American Rhetoric). The speech clearly addresses the problems plus also tries to provide respective solutions (The White House blog). In the speech, challenges to overcome the given problems are also outlined. Furthermore, the speech employs a number of persuasion techniques like ethos, logos, pathos plus mythos to get the attention.
President Barack Obama utilizes the use of ethos in his speech. Before and by the time Obama read the inauguration speech, Obama’s credibility among the domestic and international community was incredibly high (American Rhetoric). The inauguration speech presented at that time attracted a lot of respect to President Barack Obama through the words he used to address the nation. Many people expected much from listening from his speech following his political slogan of bringing change to the nation and the world in general. President Barack Obama stood in front of millions of people across the world and delivered a speech worth listening to all groups and ages of people (The White House blog). At that time during his inauguration speech, both democrats and republicans looked upon him as a unifier and a hope giver at a moment when the country had plunged into turmoil. Furthermore, many respected and looked upon listening to his speech by proving to be a good family man by openly showing his love to his wife, Mitchell everywhere he went before and after the election (American Rhetoric). After being in politics for many years and serving in many political seats in the country, many people had faith in whatever he promised them in his speech and trusted they will be enforced following his tremendous records. President Obama had proved to be a person capable of associating with various people in the world following his historical background thereby providing a wider base of credibility amongst people listening to his speech.
In his speech, President Barack Obama elicits a sense of outrage and pledges to end what he calls “false promises” (American Rhetoric). Furthermore, he also displays a knowledge plus respect for the Christians and other religions thereby gaining credibility amongst many religious people across the world. He says that the nation will bear its fruits through “God’s grace” (American Rhetoric). In his speech, he emphasizes that America needed to “set aside childish things”, including assuming responsibility for the outcomes of their actions (The White House blog).
President Barack Obama also employed the use of pathos in his inaugural speech to the nation. In his speech, he displays as an America filled with courage, energy, confidence plus compassion (American Rhetoric). Obama hence touched the audience’s emotion through establishing a number of emotions in his speech. He employs the use of narrative in an attempt to relate how past American generations tackled problems before them and rose beyond their expectation, “The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness” (The White House blog). He describes the troubles faced by their fore fathers in an attempt to establish America, the rights they stood and their dreams and relates them to their current situation thereby invoking a feel of hope. In addition, the president spoke of how Americans were capable of embracing change at such moment in order to experience fruits of their toil in future, “who question the scale of our ambitions” (American Rhetoric).
Logos was also used by President Barack Obama in his inaugural speech. In trying to establish need for change in both military and economic policies, Barack Obama in the speech tries to achieve intellectual and ethical consensus among the audience. He prompts the audience in the speech to recall how the greatness of the Americans emanated from hard work, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America” (American Rhetoric). He provides a brief history of how their fore fathers build the nation through hard work and urges the citizens to employ the same tactics (The White House blog).
In his speech, the president recounts the many losses America faced at that time, for example, decreasing education quality, rising health care cost, wars and insisted that they were “indicators of crisis” (American Rhetoric). In addition, he tries to establish logical thinking in his audience through words like, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works” (American Rhetoric).
In addition, President Barack Obama addresses the issue of antagonism among world’s religion in a logical manner that provokes thinking among people. In his speech, he cites the civil wars America fought plus racial segregation history in an attempt to let people into thinking of such actions were meant to be forgotten and establish a changed society that embraced different religious and races (American Rhetoric). history of that the antagonism between the world’s religions can and will dissipate “a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at the local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath” (American Rhetoric).
In his speech, the president also argues regarding the loss of the already existing constitutional rights “Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations” (The White House blog). He was hence establishing the need of a government that respected the rights of its citizens.
President Obama’s inaugural speech was hence an excellent speech delivered to the Americans at a time of hardship in 2009 (The White House blog). The speech hence addressed a number of internal and external problems the country faced, solutions to the problems and challenges they would face as a country in overcoming the problems (The White House blog). Addressed to a nation that expected much in terms of change in the government and some of the key policies, the president managed to address a number of key issues (American Rhetoric). In the speech, Obama manages to employ the use of ethos, pathos, logos plus mythos to establish a connection and persuade his global audience.
"Inauguration speech." 20 January 2009. The White House blog. 6 October 2012
"Presidential Inaugural Speech." 20 January 2009. American Rhetoric. 6 October 2012