Rhetorical Analyzation of Barack Obama’s Victory Speech
How it works
On November 4th, 2008 Democrat Senator Barack Obama walked through the blinding lights and roaring crowd to deliver The Election Night Victory Speech at Grant Park, Illinois. During this keynote acceptance speech, he emphasized that the American dream was not on its deathbed because “change has come to America.” His enticing and passionate speech echoed the words of famous speakers, unified a divided front both physically and emotionally, rhythmically explained his campaign struggles, and emphasized a call to action by repetition that soared and excited the people of America. However, not only did his speech entice, it also served as a caution to other countries that on this night the United States of America “had never been a collection of red states and blue states” but that “We are, and always will be, the United States of America.” Obama’s strong employment of different rhetorical strategies effectively delivered his intention in giving the audience hope concerning the future with him as their President.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still … tonight is your answer.” As Obama’s beginning words pierced through the audience’s minds, the use of anaphora by purposely repeating the phrase “who still” conveyed a sense of meaning to grab the audience’s attention and draw them into his speech. In addition, the opening allusion, “who still wonders if the dream our founders is alive” refers to one of the greatest speakers in American history, Martin Luther King Junior and his memorable, “I Have a Dream” speech. Through this allusion, Obama anchors through time by revisiting a period where many people felt oppressed and mistreated, he then jumps forward in time by explaining how many people now “believed that this time must be different” and how that their voices could be that differentiator to bring about change. Then brings it all back into the present by saying that “tonight” became a defining moment for the United States and how through the American peoples voices they had brought change tonight and for years to come. He commended how far the we as a country had come and how our voices, together could spark change. “This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; … to reclaim the American Dream” His reiteration of the words “this is” is meant to act as a final call to action to fire up the crowd and to incite hope into the people of America.
How it works
In the speech, Obama commenced a series of thanks that emotionally connected people throughout the crowd no matter who they voted for. He started by praising the defeated “A little bit earlier this evening I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves” by praising who he defeated instead of ignoring, tramping, or ridiculing he portrayed magnanimity by being able to overlook his ego to express his humbleness for the opposite political party; therefore, he was able to connect his supporters with the critics of his campaign. As he spoke he thanked others including his daughters “Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” This demonstrates that he is a normal man who deeply cares for his family, in this case, he promised his daughters a puppy. Therefore, this unifies the crowd with a sweeping sense of pathos and gives the crowd the “feel good” factor that his daughters were getting a puppy.
Unlike many other campaigns Barack Obama’s campaign trail was heavily underfunded and shaky at times, Obama however did not shy away from this fact he bluntly stated that he “was never the likeliest candidate for this office” and rhythmically described his political struggles “our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington, it began in the backyards of Des Moines” Through the use of alliteration he was able to recognize and display the struggles and how instead his campaign was built “by the working men and women” to show that how even that he was the one who won the race, that truly the victory belonged to the American people. Through these words Obama signified that he was ready to incorporate the efforts of everybody into the road to recovery. He stated, “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long” The phrase “partisanship and pettiness, poisoned our Politics” was a clever alliteration to embody how that these three aspects had wreaked havoc across American society and by saying “let us” he unanimously unifies people no matter their pollical party affiliation or there