Senator Barack Obama

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Senator Barack Obama gave one of the best acceptance remarks for an electoral win on November 4, 2008. The senator prepared and gave the address, which took place at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. It was historic because it was the first time in American electoral history that a black man took the floor as an election victor. Obama’s remarks were repeated throughout history as he gave a great speech that was subjected to media scrutiny. From a critical review of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in November 2008, it is noted that the speaker excellently included elements of rhetorical appeal that included appealing to the audience through the use of emotional, logic, and reason.

One of the primary considerations in the success of the speech was the ability of the speaker to relate with the audience by giving them reason using the concept of logos. The understanding of this rhetorical appeal is based on the fact that it entails establishing a claim by the skill of reasoning (Lutzke and Henggeler). Obama makes use of this concept and ensured that the audience understood that he had researched about the issues affecting the US and that he was versed with what the presidency entailed. For example, he stated, “We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there” (ABC News). The author thus uses a historical comparison to enable the listeners understand that while he is about to assume the presidency, he was aware that based on the historical background, it would not be easy to realize the dream he had for the country. The most significant aspect, however, was that through the use of historical comparison, Obama ensured that the listener appreciated his understanding of the presidency.

The acceptance speech was also memorable because of the skills the speaker used to appeal to the character of the listeners. The rhetorical appeal used in this case is also referred to as ethos and served to ensure that the audience could establish that Obama was worthy of the presidency. It is a form of convincing the listener that because the speaker is committed to the issue or argument at stake, so should the listener believe in the idea (Lutzke and Henggeler). In his speech, Obama mentioned, “And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too” (ABC News). The pathos feature is thus apparent when the analysis is focused on the fact that Obama is stating that he is willing to engage fairly and seeks to connect with others, especially those who do not support him. It was a smart way of ensuring that there was trust in the delivery of the speech because it was meant to reconcile those who supported him and those who did not support his election.

The ls tans most important aspect that made the speech a great one was the ability of the speaker to relate with the listeners’’ emotions using the concept of pathos. The skill is founded on the idea that to establish a more convincing tone, the subject has to be presented in a way that capture’s the target audience’ emotions though fear, pity, or anger (Lutzke and Henggeler). The speaker says, “I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements” (ABC News). The impression that the reader gets is that of feeling pitiful for the elected president that he made it as a victor while the odds were against him. It ensures that the audience, especially those who supported Obama’s opponent, realized that they could as well join the winning team because of the sympathy of having won when it was not anticipated. It creates a feeling where the audience’ imagination is engaged as they will try to imagine how the speaker went into the election as an underdog but emerged the winner. Overall, the whole idea was that the speaker wanted to capture the listener’s emotions and use it to reconcile them politically.

In summary, the acceptance speech delivered by Barack Obama in November 2008 was a success in the manner it engaged the listeners in the process. All the three aspects of rhetorical appeal worked together in the speech and ensured that the audience felt the skills of reasoning with the speaker, feeling empathetic for him, and trusting that he was fit to assume the presidency. The overall motive was to reconcile the opposing side and those who voted for him to create a feeling where they needed to trust him in the journey they were beginning. Overall, therefore, the speech was effective and the argument presented was engaging in a positive manner.

Works Cited

ABC News. “Full Transcript: Sen. Barack Obama’s Victory Speech.” ABC 4 Nov. 2008. Web.

Lutzke, Jaclyn, and Mary F. Henggeler. “The Rhetorical Triangle: Understanding and Using Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.” University Writing Center (2009): n. pag. Web.

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