I have 2 parts to this assignment, a worksheet and a discussion question.

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to
by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961
until his assassination in 1963.

After Kennedy’s military service as commander of
the Patrol Torpedo Boat PT -109 (Motor Torpedo
Board) during World War II in the South Pacific,
his aspirations turned political, with the
encouragement and grooming of his father.
Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in
the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to
1953 as a Democrat, and in the U.S. Senate from
1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated then Vice
President and Republican candidate Richard
Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one
of the closest in American history. He is the
youngest man and the only practicing Roman
Catholic to be elected president. He is also the
only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.
Events during his administration include the Bay
of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the
building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the
American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald
was charged with the crime and was murdered two days later by Jack Ruby before he
could be put on trial. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone in
killing the president; however, the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared in
1979 that there was more likely a conspiracy that included Oswald. The entire subject
remains controversial, with multiple theories about the assassination still being debated.
The event proved to be an important moment in U.S. history because of its impact on the
nation and the ensuing political repercussions.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

35th President of the United States

Table of Contents
JFK’s Inaugural Address…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1

JFK’s Inaugural Address


John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address
Project Gutenberg, Gutenberg.org

JFK’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961, 12:11 EST

We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom. . .symbolizing an end as well as a
beginning. . . signifying renewal as well as change for I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same
solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three−quarters ago.

The world is very different now, for man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human
poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forbears fought are
still at issue around the globe. . .the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but
from the hand of God. We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution.

Analyzing Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices

Rhetoric in its simplest form is the art of
persuasive speech or writing. For thousands of years, politicians and orators have been known for their use of rhetoric to influence and persuade an audience to their side or way of thinking. Rhetoric is all around us, in the form of political speeches, commercials, art, television, movies, newspaper and magazine articles—even in our everyday conversations. Each time we want to get our way, or take out our money to buy a product we saw in a commercial, we are either using rhetoric or are persuaded by the use of rhetoric. While various media use different ways of appealing to an audience, they each have the same purpose: to persuade.

There are different ways a speaker or writer can appeal and seek to persuade to his or her audience: 1) logic or reason (logos), 2) emotion (pathos), and/or 3) ethics and morals (ethos).

· Logos: by appealing to an audience’s sense of reason and logic, the speaker or writer intends to make the audience think clearly about the sensible and/or obvious answer to a problem

· Logos appeals to the audience with facts, statistics, definitions, historical proof, quotes from “experts.” Think of the commercials that have a sports star or celebrity giving statistics about and their own endorsement of a product. It is logical that if a sports star uses this elliptical machine and is in shape that it works—or at least, that is what you are led to believe.

· Pathos: by appealing to the audience’s emotions, the speaker or writer can make the audience feel sorrow, shame, sympathy, embarrassment, anger, excitement, and/or fear.
· Pathos appeals to the audience through the use of figurative language, imagery, vivid descriptions, an emotional choice of words, or examples that are designed to make you FEEL a certain way. Think of an ad or an article showing our servicemen in uniform holding their tiny newborns or hugging their child and wife, with tears streaming down their eyes.

· Ethos: the overall appeal of the speaker or writer himself or herself; it is important that this person have impressive credentials, a notable knowledge of the subject, and/or appear to be a likeable and moral person.

· Ethos appeals to the audience with a calm, trustworthy, seemingly sincere approach. The speaker uses good grammar and is well-spoken, and tells stories that are backed by general common sense and need to feel secure. Think of a commercial of a “doctor” in a white lab coat telling the audience all about how a new medicine can help treat one’s symptoms. We listen because we trust the doctor, who appears to be well-spoken and knowledgeable about his subject.

It is not only important what a speaker or writer has to say, but how he or she actually says or presents it. There are literally hundreds of rhetorical devices, dating back to the famous orators Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Analysis of Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices Activity

Part 2 of the module discussion
After reading the speech, answer the following questions in the discussion:
What do you think is Kennedy’s purpose for giving this speech? What was the most compelling part of the speech for you? Why?

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