John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address

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John F. Kennedy, who was the 35th President of the United States of America, had achieved many accomplishments throughout his presidential career. Many people had no faith in John F. Kennedy especially those in the South because they did not support his idea of the Civil Rights bill and his thoughts on how to handle the Cold War. However, young John F. Kennedy, who many thought was inexperienced, proved everyone wrong in 1960 by being titled President as he beat Richard Nixon by 84 electoral votes and 2% popular vote. Later on, on January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave his famous Inaugural Address as a message to the world that unity is key to achieve a successful society. Throughout his speech, John F. Kennedy embeds inversion, alliteration and rhetorical questions, which helps his audience develop different aspects of his speech. In all, his speech consists of powerful words, syntactic reversal of words and questions that raise effects, that help impact a powerful movement.

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One rhetorical device Kennedy uses to achieve his purpose is inversion. John F. Kennedy creates an variation of the subject-verb-object order to use throughout his speech. An example of this can be shown in Paragraph 7, United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do. In other words, Kennedy is trying to prove that if we are together as a nation, we can overcome and accomplish more, rather than being split up and more vulnerable. Also, this was occuring when Civil Rights was significant, so if everyone had dropped their issues with each other and joined as a whole, no matter what color you were, many conflicts could have been resolved. Without the evidence of effort shown by the people, the movement cannot begin because everybody is seperated and that leads to miscommunication of the nation. Although, Kennedy uses the idea of being united, he also uses religion to fulfill his goal. For example, For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. (Paragraph 3) Another way to interpret what Kennedy is explaining is there is a big distinction produced between his religion. This was a reason why many people disapproved of Kennedy due to his religion being Roman-Catholic, but he willingly agreed to put aside that for the sake of the nation. Kennedys tendency to listen to the people and put them ahead of his own self plays a big impact on his overall goal.

Another rhetorical device that Kennedy uses is alliteration to serve his purpose of unity. The way Kennedy uses the repetition of the same sound but just in a different way displays how he can use words to an advantage. One example that shows this is, Let us go forth to the land we love …. (Paragraph 28) The big aspect of the quote is Let, which persuades people to come join to make a big effort. Also, in a way Kennedy uses pathos to get into the audiences emotions saying they join if they care. In addition to Kennedys objective of America help bringing together the whole nation and not just a certain group of people, he embeds another piece of alliteration in his speech, For exampleLet both sides Let is a strong word that Kennedy uses to unify the people of America because it serves as a repetitive alert to remind people to fulfill their duties. The repetition of the same sound is so used to implant into the people of the nations mindset to come forth and work together to create a strong, unified society.

Finally, John F. Kennedy uses rhetorical questions throughout his speech. Rhetorical questions come into place when a figure of speech is in the form of a question that is posed for rhetorical effect rather than just receiving a upright answer. Example, Will you join in that historic effect? (Paragraph 24). This quote establishes pathos because it appeals to engage into the audiences emotions. Therefore, makes the people feel significant and help unite many because of the fact that they will be an aspect of Americas history brings in the people and also has benefits for not only the people but the nation as well. Moreover, Kennedy uses another rhetorical question, Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. (Paragraph 16). In other words, the meaning of the quote is that divisions are being caused by problems that are not relevant to the matter and need to be set aside for the moment. Rhetorical questions play a big part of John F. Kennedys speech because forms a question that is posed for effect to commence an immense movement.

Throughout John F. Kennedys Inaugural Address, he utilizes the ability to be able to establish an way for all of America to rejoice together as a whole and form an prosperous society. Kennedy attains his goal by using rhetoric devices such as alliteration, rhetorical questions and inversion, so that he has strong valid points and ways to support those points. Without this speech the history of the United States of America would be completely changed because of how the large impact of his speech outspread to the whole nation, including the youth.

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John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address. (2019, May 13). Retrieved October 5, 2022 , from

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