Rhetorical Analysis of Barack Obama

President Obama’s inaugural speech as the first black president of the United States left the world craving for more inspiring words. The speech not only served as a announcement of authority for his new office but also thanksgiving. The second was historical not solely because the United States had overwhelmingly voted in a black president but also due to the fact Obama believed in the rule of law, justice and believed in democracy. Analyzing the speech, it had both emotion and logic and was delivered by way of a reputable individual. It was also measured, with a stability of pragmatism and directness that were enough to articulate problems confronted by the people of America. The speech involved the use of exclusive fundamentals of rhetoric and had a clear arrangement of important points that helped it achieve great effects.

The main theme of Obama’s speech was to ensure that the American dream is achieved and it also focused on issues such as foreign policy, war and the economy. Ethos is a rhetoric that represents the credibility of the speaker to his/her audience. President Obama is seen to have memorized the whole speech and this is where ethos is created. Having a memory of the speech gives an image of being organized and prepared. As Obama begins his speech, he does not use words such as ‘I’, ‘myself’, ‘me’ but instead uses ‘together’, ‘u’s and ‘we’ to achieve ethos (Phillips). He brings the audience to his level and also goes to the level of the audience. As he opens his speech, Obama says, “I stand here humbled by the task before us….” (Phillips). Ethos is again seen here as Obama says how humbled he is by showing politeness and courtesy.

Logos is the reasoning or logic given by an author of a speech. Logos is created in the ninth paragraph of the speech when Obama says, “Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill” (Phillips). Here, he shows logic and intellect by explaining the market forces and their effect on the economy of America. Logos is further seen in the speech when he states that the they have to be alert with the market or else it could spin out of control. He further states that the prosperity of the economy is not only dependent on the gross domestic product but the willingness to be prosperous and provide opportunities to all those willing to work. The entire speech is riddled with logic since most of the issues addressed were effecting Americans.

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Pathos is a rhetoric element that creates an emotional impact on listeners. There are numerous instances where he uses the word ‘we’. Pathos is created as he explains that America is what it is because of the American people. The people are promised that they will work hand in hand with the president to become successful. Obama further pledges that he will work with people from poor nations and make their farms productive (Phillips). Here the president vows to work together with the less fortunate nations and hence creates pathos by showing that he not only has compassion for the people of the U.S but also those of less fortunate countries.

Works Cited

  • Phillips, Macon. “President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address”. whitehouse.gov. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.
July 23, 2021
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