John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy was not the best student while growing up
John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy was not the best student while growing up. He never seemed to care much about school and would not perform to his best ability while in boarding school. After boarding school he was immediately accepted into Harvard, having no specific major. He grew up in political family, in fact, while he was in college, his father was chosen to be the U.S. ambassador of England. “After visiting his father in England in the summer of 1937, he knew that is what he wanted to do, gaining interest in government and politics” (“JFK in History”). Kennedy worked for both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate before becoming the 35th president of the United States of America between the years of 1961-1963. Kennedy only served three years of his presidency before he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas, while riding in a motorcade. This made him the youngest U.S. presidents to die in office. His assassination was the fourth presidential assassination , the first was Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1965, followed by James A. Garfield’s assassination in 1881, and lastly William McKinley assassination in 1901. Kennedy had many unique things about him, becoming youngest U.S president after only being 43 on his first day of office. He was also the first president to have a Irish Catholic background.
Since March 4th 1861, since the first president we elected, the president always gives an inaugural address as they are sworn into office. This time in history has always been a fundamental step towards having a new administration. This is the time that the new president is able to tell the American citizens, and the world, what they have in plan to change the country for the better. The president addresses how they plan to lead the country and how they will follow through and enact their plan. These speeches are always powerful and memorable, but nothing like John F. Kennedy’s. On February 20th 1961, John F. Kennedy gave his famous inaugural speech, to the citizens of America and the people watching around the world. Kennedy’s speech was one of the shortest but most powerful inaugural address ever given in American history. His speech captivated million of people and seized the nation’s attention. Until this day, his speech is still known as one of the best speech to ever be written or delivered. He invoked the American dream and extended his promises for not just America, but the rest of the world. Kennedy begins by stating that there is a celebration of freedom and refers back to our forefathers oath , which refers to the freedom that we celebrate. Kennedy states that his inauguration should be the beginning of renewal and change, and connected Americans to come together to be one. He asked the nations to come together to fight for what he calls “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself” (“JFK in History”). Kennedy uses his speech to re-address the issues of the citizens in poverty, lack of peace and civility, and threats for freedom and liberty in America.
Kennedy bases his arguments on logical and emotional appeals to convince the audience to take a stand, be hopeful, and make a difference. His entire speech is structured to be logical and to make sense everyone, from any age level, moving from one point to the next. Majority of Americans know the renowned line of Kennedy’s speech ” Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country” (Kennedy) this is a call for all Americans to participate in the tasks at hand. He shows a strong appeal to emotion with the feelings of having hope and pride for the country, then conseversing it with having fear and pity. Kennedy uses the negative aspects in his speech to propel Americans into action, such as the pity for the people that are living in huts and villages and the attempt to cast off the chains of poverty. This contrasting of emotions causes the audience to have powerful emotions on such subjects and increase the pride and hope for the United States. In his inaugural speech Kennedy strongly spoke of the need for the Americans to be active citizens. Kennedy touches on two things in his speech, to unite the Americans, and to call his audience to duty. With strong ethics he is able to unify the country into one, and appeal to the rest of the world by referring to other countries. He send a message for the nation about the Cold War and his hope for peace and desire. He also strengthen his call of duty, which is based on logical and emotional appeals.
In Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy set a world-wide example for effective presidential speech through the heavy use of pathos, logos, syntax, and changing sentence structures in means of delivering a successful speech. Kennedy draws in his audience emotionally, with the use of pathos and sympathy. For example, “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” making the audience feel patriotic (Kennedy). Also he says “Born in the century, tempered by war, disciplined by hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage… we are committed today at home and around the world”(Kennedy). This quotes makes the audience feel confident Kennedy’s decisions and in choosing him to be the leader and president of the United States. Kennedy talks about if a free society, the United States, cannot help the many countries who are poor, than the United States cannot save the few countries who are rich. This infers the connection between the United States and the countries that are living in poverty.
Additionally, Kennedy establishes logos through different analogies and classifications. He classifies the world into five categories: the old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, new states that we welcome, people that live in huts and villages that are struggling to break mass poverty, world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, and nations that make themselves our adversary. Kennedy uses the analogy “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside ” to represent the spread of Communism. He also talks about the Cold War, involving the arms race, and space race. “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations” (Kennedy). He states that quote to propose a potential healing with Russia.
John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address was written with purpose. Kennedy’s purpose to giving the speech is as simple as to motivate Americans for his upcoming term, and to push the citizens to be as hopeful as him. As Kennedy talks in third person, using the words “we” and “us”, he sets a tone to how he presents his speech, being hopeful and uplifting. Kennedy’s rhetorical techniques leave the listener with an understanding for Kennedy.He uses strong syntax to give depth and meaning. He uses repetition to amplify his point and what he wants for the nation. Kennedy repeats ” let both sides” meaning Russia and the United States, to show he wants peace and unity. As he continuously repeats this, he is saying that all countries should stop standing alone and come together as one. Kennedy also uses antithesis (a contrast of ideas or words in a parallel structure). “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate” (Kennedy). This is the sole purpose of Kennedy’s speech, to spread peace and assure the survival of liberty.
To Conclude, John F. Kennedy’s speech was effective at touching and motivating many Americans, although he did not attempt to use many ethos. In fact ethos was Kennedy’s weakest rhetorical appeal. There are only two ethos that he presents in his speech to show that he is credible. The first etho is simply the point that he is now the President of the United States. The second etho is when he states “the belief that the rights of man came not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God” referencing God (Kennedy).