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John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 979
  • Category: Kennedy

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Inauguration is a formal ceremony that represents the start of a leader’s term in office. Here in the United States, it is tradition that elected presidents give a speech. President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address was debatably one of the most memorable and quoted speeches ever given. The American people viewed John F. Kennedy as immature and cynical due to his selection at such a young age, doubting his optimism. Therefore, Kennedy was obligated to impress the public by gaining their trust through finely detailed reasoning. Kennedy instills confidence and determination in the American population through his effectivie use of parallelism, anaphora, antithesis, and antimetabole, and his exquisite use of tropes and schemes present him as credible and trustworthy.

In the beginning of his speech, Kennedy uses parallel structure; America will “pay at any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe,” (paragrahp5) to preserve liberty. Kennedy’s use of parallelism clarifies his willingness to do anything it takes, regardless, for the survival of liberty and peace; this means Kennedy’s intentions are for the greater good of the American people and prove his readiness to sacrifice for the preservation of liberty. “A new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secured and the peace preserved.” (paragraph 20) Again through use of parallel structure, Kennedy relays his goal to help all people while ensuring peace. He views the American people as equals, the brave and the weak alike. Kennedy proves he is prepared to do negative things so long as the preservation of liberty is kept.

Kennedy combines anaphora with parallelism. Kennedy stated, “Let both sides explore what problems unite us.. Let both sides, for the first time; formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms… Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science… Let both sides unite … let the oppressed go free,” (paragraphs 16-19). This combination of anaphora with parallelism through usage of phrases such as, “To those” and, “Let both sides” creates the idea of unity between nations through his use of parallelism; he pledged to help even the less fortunate “not because we seek their votes, but because it is right,” (paragraph9). This statement signifies that Kennedy will do what is “right,” and just, even if it is the unpopular decision. Ironically, this conception make Kennedy accepted. It forced the public to be optimistic towards Kennedy’s plans for the future that lies ahead.

Employing antithesis, Kennedy asserts that freedom symbolizes “an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well change… to friend and foe alike…” In these statements, Kennedy is referring to the “end” of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reign “as well as a beginning” of Kennedy’s term as President of the United States of America. He cleverly gives his respects to the former president by indirectly dismissing him while inducting himself as a new renovation. Kennedy then alludes to allies of the United States as “friends” and parties that are enemies of the United States as “foes,” such as the Soviet Union. Kennedy then compares the two, allies and enemies, as “alike,” meaning he will keep his “friends” close as well as his “foes” all while having the thought of what is best for the American people in mind.

Kennedy’s unigque use of antimetabole wisely captures the audience’s attention while provoking the listeners to pause and ponder. Kennedy advises the American population to “never negotiate out of fear…[but] never fear to negotiate” to outline Kennedy’s strong beliefs in maintaining the peace. He inspires the listeners to have no fear to speak their mind, for their voices are being heard. Finally, perhaps the most memorable and recited line of Kennedy’s whole Address, “Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country,” (paragraph 26) captures the attention of the American people by directing the speech to them and making the listeners seriously think about where he is coming from.

In 1961, the United States was undergoing major historical changes, not only the shift from one president to another, but changes in the way America was interacting with the world. Before the election of John F. Kennedy as President of the United States of America, Kennedy had to seriously make an impression to an unsure audience. He did so through persuasive use of carefully structured grammatical propositions. Kennedy intended to capture the attention of the American population by using short and sweet sentencest hat get to the point fast while compelling the audience to pause and ponder, and through his use of short sentences, he proves that his presidency will accomplish every detail of his speech. Kennedy begins the speech by addressing the honorable oath by using phrases such as “the same solemn oath our foefathers prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago,” (line 5).

He does this to show America that he is committed and dedicated to the oath for his presidency. Kennedy then uses words such as “renewal” and “change” to lead to his statement about the future generations of Americans to come. Kennedy als strikes the audience with empowering words such as “freedom,” “poverty,” “tyranny,” and “human rights;” all words of which are still of much concern to the American people in contemporary society. Kennedy’s use of parallelism, anaphora, antithesis, and antimetabole unites all Americans as one by bringing them together undr one goal and purpose, preparing them for accomplishment. Kennedy knew exactly what to say and how to back it up in order to achieve his purpose of unity. He brings Americans together as one and gains their trust; Kennedy effectively juxtaposed several ideas, convinving Americans to have faith in him and no longer view him as inexperienced. By doing so, he conquers the election as President of the United States of America.

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