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JFK's Inaugural Address - 1961 Throughout history, Presidents have used the Inaugural Address as an opportunity to help the mental framework of the American people and

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Kyle Milgram 11/4/05 Document Analysis JFK's Inaugural Address - 1961 Throughout history, Presidents have used the Inaugural Address as an opportunity to help the mental framework of the American people and to the greater world. In order to effectively do so, those who craft the address must exhibit a mastery of rhetoric. More so than in other writing pieces, an Inaugural Address by nature appeals more to the rhetorical element of emotion. This is due to the fact that the address is intended to move its audience with powerful and socially lasting statements. The rhetorical element of emotion was especially vital to the address of former President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's emotion presented the whole free world with a responsibility to spread freedom, justice, and to rid the world of evils. In addition, he calls upon the American people to stand strong as the backbone of the attempt to win the "long twilight struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war." ...read more.


"Let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved." This statement laid the foundation for the actual actions that the Kennedy Administration took to make this happen. Later in 1961, The Peace Corp was initiated to further advance third world countries and a ban on nuclear testing was negotiated between the two superpowers in 1963. These measures brought about a relaxation in cold war tensions following a time of severe confrontation early in the administration. One fundamental aspect of American philosophy in the 1960s was the belief that individuals could make a difference. The famous line, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" mirrored the belief that Americans had that they could influence their events in their country. The speech echoed in the ears of millions of young Americans who did indeed believe that they could make their country a better place. ...read more.


America's effort to keep them free was required "not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right". This made the free world feel a responsibility to all the other nations which were fighting for what they all have fought for in the past. Kennedy decided to stimulate fear and excitement in his first and only Inaugural Address. Although emotions may seem irrational, they tend to produce very rational effects. Kennedy relies on history ("Our ancient heritage") and God ("in the trumpet summons") and on patriotism ("graves of young Americans") and on bravery ("I do not shrink from this responsibility") to carry his message against "the common enemies of man: "tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself". Evoking excitement and fear caused many to be proactive out of worry that their laziness may be counterproductive to the nation. This address not only manipulated the audience by evoking certain emotions, but equally important was the ability for the Inaugural Address to linger in the minds of the audience. For years to come, we will still remember the words and ideas of Kennedy simply because of his mastery of rhetoric. ...read more.

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