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A Nation Inspired: Barack Obama's Use of Pathos

Essay by   •  November 2, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,317 Words (6 Pages)  •  940 Views

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A Nation Inspired: Barack Obama's Use of Pathos

Barack Obama is one of the most influential speakers of our time. This is never more prevalent than in his "President-Elect Victory Speech". He uses his talent to bring hope and to help win a presidential election in a nation going through very tough times. In this speech on November 4, 2008, Obama gives his speech from a pathos approach while also persuading with a touch of logos. He convinces the American people that he is the right man for the job and that he will lead this nation to a better future. Through this speech, he gives many Americans a wonderful emotional feeling, including myself.

Obama begins his speech with a powerful statement. He states that "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is still a place where all things are possible....tonight is your answer." (Obama 13) He points out that we are not a separated nation of different races and political parties but we are one United States of America. Obama immediately touches our emotions by reminding everyone that we are an amazing, powerful nation that can do anything we set our minds to.

Obama goes on to give us a look into his personal life by thanking his beloved wife and kids for all their love and support throughout his campaign. This gives us a small look into his life to help us realize he's also a human being like the rest of us. It shows us he has feelings and emotions, too. He needs people there to support him, just like any of us. It relates such a famous, powerful person to any common American watching him speak.

After he thanks everyone who helped him along his campaign journey, the President-Elect brings the speech back to all the American people. He tells us, "But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you." (Obama 14) Obama explains that we, as a nation, won this campaign. He appeals to all hard-working Americans by thanking them for giving every bit of time and money they didn't really have, to begin with, to make this victory possible. This makes the crowd feel like a big part of the victory. This inspires them to support Obama because he points out that it's not all about him.

Obama then touches on the logical side of his speech. He states that "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term." (Obama 14) He points out that there are many problems to be fixed and it will not be easy. The speech does not try to sugar coat his victory by giving everyone a false hope that everything will suddenly be fixed when he takes office. Obama doesn't try to convince people that just because he appealed to their emotions, thing will change. He convinces us to look at the win in a realistic way.

There will be many people who do not agree with Obama as President and he knows that. Obviously, there are many people who did not vote for him. He wants to earn their votes and support, too. To change a nation in peril, the President will need everyone's support. He logically acknowledges that not everyone is celebrating this win, but he will be their President and he needs their support to succeed. This persuades his non-supporters watching the speech to help his cause in the best interest of the country. This whole section of the speech convinces the crowd in a logical way because he makes it obvious that things won't get better just because they have a hopeful emotion. It takes real action to change things. Obama also succeeds in convincing the people that he's a competent man. He uses logic to prove his intelligence and capability to do what

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