Outline for LBJ war on poverty

Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his first State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, a speech that primarily focused on the issues that the United States was facing at the time. Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a powerful State of the Union address by concentrating emphasis on his audience, the Congress and Americans, by using repetition in the speech to highlight the severity of the nation’s poverty crisis, and by using emotional appeal to mobilize support for his agenda and instill a sense of solidarity among Americans.
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By focusing attention on his audience, the congress and his fellow Americans, Johnson wanted to show that the legislative agenda on war against poverty was not only for the congress to pass but also for the American people to support.

Johnson wanted to show them that the agenda was for every American citizen

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the House and Senate, my fellow Americans. I will be brief, for our time is necessarily short and our agenda is already long” (Johnson).

This quote indicates that Johnson was addressing all the American people including the congress and that the agenda was for them all

Secondly, Johnson wanted the congress and the people to support his cause

“So I ask you now in the Congress and in the country to join with me in expressing and fulfilling that faith in working for a nation, a nation that is free from want and a world that is free from hate—a world of peace and justice, and freedom and abundance, for our time and for all time to come” (Johnson).

In this quote, Johnson seeks the support of his audience; the congress and the country, to join him and support his cause

In addition, by repeating the words “war” and ‘poverty’ in his speech, Johnson wanted to emphasize the magnitude of the poverty problem and stress the fact that they should work hard and together in order to end the situation.

Johnson wanted reiterate to the people how poverty had become such a huge problem in the nation. It had become a state emergency

“…declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort…” (Johnson).

By declaring an unconditional war, it shows that the problem had become a national disaster and had to be dealt with urgently

He also wanted to emphasize the fact that ending poverty was not an easy task and it required the support of every American citizen

“For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in…” (Johnson).

The quote stresses the fact that ending poverty required concerted efforts of every American citizen

Furthermore, Johnson effectively used pathos to appeal to the emotions of the people in order to rally support for his agenda and to instill a spirit of unity among Americans.

Johnson appeals to the emotions of the Americans by instilling a spirit of unity

“We have in 1964 a unique opportunity and obligation—to prove the success of our system; to disprove those cynics and critics at home and abroad who question our purpose and our competence” (Johnson).

In this quote, Johnson appeals to the emotions of the Americans to come together and support his agenda so that they can prove the cynics and the critics wrong.

Moreover, he rallies support for his agenda by arousing feelings of patriotism

“Today, Americans of all races stand side by side in Berlin and in Vietnam. They died side by side in Korea. Surely they can work and eat and travel side by side in their own country” (Johnson).

Americans have always worked together in the past regardless of their divisions in order to fight or support a common cause that concerns their country

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Johnson’s State of the Union speech delivered to the Americans shows passion in fighting human poverty. This is evident as he kept emphasizing the intensity of the problem of poverty in the nation throughout his speech, and kept persuading the people by stirring up their emotions in order to gain support for his cause.

Works Cited

Johnson, Lyndon. “State of the Union.” Washington, 1964.

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