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Obama's Rehtoric

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In order for a speaker to successfully present an argument in determination that he or she can persuade his or her audience, the speaker must develop a variety of rhetorical tactics to support and back up his or her line of reasoning. Aristotle's theory of rhetoric provides three devices of persuasion; one of which appeals to the emotions of the audience, one that provides rational confirmation or logic, and lastly the speaker must secure credibility (Aristotle as explained in Griffin, 2006). Through the examination of presidential candidate, Barack Obama's speech on race, each of these elements is effectively developed and utilized. Obama's main goal is to convince the American people that the problems our country faces should not be amplified by the racial issues we have been dealing with for the past two centuries, but that in order for our country to prosper, we must stand together to reach a common goal.

One of the most valuable methods of initially drawing a deep connected relationship with listeners is to appeal to the emotions and sentiments related to the lives of those in the audience. This powerful technique is evident from the opening of Obama's speech to the closing remarks. The presidential candidate strikes a sense of patriotism among Americans, both black and white as he states, "...we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction..." (Obama 2008 need page or par #). Obama's call for unity among the American people is strengthened significantly by appealing to the passion and pride found in the hearts of Americans. By stirring up a fire of nationalism, Obama is able to captivate the attention of his audience by engaging them with a sensation that directly relates to their lives. Obama is able to establish a connection with the American people by painting a picture of his family; just like America, his family is composed of "every race and every hue." A wide range of audiences are addressed when Obama discusses the struggles of both the white and black communities of America by describing the hard work and strife suffered to achieve what they have earned. By using powerful language to address these issues, Obama is able to capture the emotions of his audience in favor of his desire to unify the country.

Another important element of persuasion is found in the logical support of data, facts and logic. In the very beginning, Obama uses ideals from the document in which our nation functions, the Constitution. Obama (2008) explains that this document "promised people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time" (need page or par #). He acknowledges that this is what our founding fathers intended to be the standards of our country, but in our present-day reality, this justice has not yet been equally served. This historical evidence provides the audience with a concept they can grasp in order to see the importance of equality in our nation. Obama also highlights the "legalized discrimination" in the time prior to the Civil Rights Movement; he provides details of the life for the black



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