President John F. Kennedy’s Speechs

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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On January 20th, 1961 in Washington D.C., President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most vital speeches after being sworn in as President of the United States. His speech was so influential, that it’s still remember today as one of the best from any President. It presented a powerful use of logos, ethos, and pathos. He was inspirational, and spoke to his audiences heart. He accomplished what most speakers wish they could today and that was gaining his audiences trust.

At the age of 43, John F. Kennedy was the youngest president to take office. Throughout his presidency he stumbled upon a lot of skepticism, because of his youth. President Kennedy was born into a popular family, so there’s no doubt he used constant examples of ethos in his speech through his values given from his family. No one wants a president with no credibility or prior knowledge of his country. In his Inaugural address, President Kennedy said, “For I have sworn before you and almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago”. He gained much credibility and a new found respect from his audience, because not only did he sworn in front of the American he people, he did in front of God as well. He showed his audience that we a man of faith, and that he will honor his word by doing that he gained their trust. He was aware of the Presidents before him and the things they had accomplished, so he would continue their work to make our country better. By associating himself with previous Presidents, increased his credibility amongst his audience.

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President Kennedy was a trust worthy man who led, inspired, and motivated the people around him. It’s important for any speaker to appeal to his or her audience emotions. He wanted to grant the people of the United States freedom. He emphasized with the people, which made them believe he was a man they could trust to run our country. Instead of war with other countries, President Kennedy wanted to fight against things that affected all people. In his speech, he said, “Now the trumpet summons around us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need—not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of long twilight struggle, year and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient tribulation’—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself”. He wanted peace, not war. We are wasting money trying to wage war. President Kennedy used his promise of peace to inspire us all. War after war, he just wanted his people to feel safe and at peace with themselves and their country. Throughout his speech, he gained religious support form his audience by showing them that he believed in God and was also a man of faith.

The success and failure of our country isn’t just caused by the president, the citizens play an important role as well. In his address he says, “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course”. We shouldn’t always rely on the president because of his power, a good country starts from it’s citizens. The president can’t do much without the people. Citizen participation is crucial, because we impact the environment that we live in. We have to improve the quality of life around us before anyone else can, and I believe that’s what John F. Kennedy was trying to express in his address.

Overall, President John F. Kennedy used ethos, pathos, and logos in his speech to gain his audiences respect. He associated himself with God to let the people know that he’s a man of faith, and associated himself with past presidents to show his knowledge of his new role as leader. He used his voice to remind people that we also have power and a say so as to what goes on in our country. It was important to him to gain his audiences trust and for them to have faith in his word.

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President John F. Kennedy's speechs. (2019, Apr 23). Retrieved from