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Thomas Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address

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After Thomas Jefferson was re-elected president of the United States of America, he gave a speech called The Second Inaugural Address. President Jefferson was known for his wonderful speaking skills. His inaugural speech was powerful and well-written. The forms of rhetorical devices that President Jefferson used in his speech are elevated diction, tone, metaphors, and the power of three. The figurative speech confirms to the public that it was a good choice to reelect him and that he will continue to be a more than adequate president of the United States of America.

President Jefferson’s elevated diction is present throughout the speech beginning with the first sentence which reads “Proceeding, fellow-citizens, to that qualification which the Constitution requires before my entrance on the charge again conferred on me, it is my duty to express the deep sense I entertain of this new proof of confidence from my fellow- citizens at large, and the zeal with which it inspires me so to conduct myself as may best satisfy their just expectations.” President Jefferson’s diction is very impressive and shows his extreme knowledge and worthiness as a president. His use of words such as “domiciliary vexation” “zeal” “cultivate” “redemption” “encroaching” “auxiliaries” “artillery” and “licentiousness” are examples of his extensive vocabulary. The only negative result that may have resulted from his elevated diction is the lack of understanding of some of the citizens. He gave the speech to all of the people in the United States of America, and the people might not have understood his elevated vocabulary. He may have been talking over the heads of a lot of Americans.

Throughout the second inaugural speech, President Jefferson retains a serious tone. A few statements that proves his serious tone are “My conscience tells me I have on every occasion acted up to that declaration according to its obvious import and to the understanding of every candid mind.” and “In matters of religion I have considered that it is free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of e the powers of the General Government.” (Both of these quotes show a serious tone. I believe that his tone really conveys the message that he is trying to send to the public and the seriousness of being president of the United States of America. A negative effect the speech may have been that some people may have lost interest because the serious tone that he uses is dull and not very entertaining.)

Lastly, the figurative speech that President Jefferson uses is the power of three and metaphors. Although his speech is mostly filled with elevated diction and tone, he does throw in a power of three which is “War will then be but a suspension of useful works, a return to state of peace, and a return to the progress of improvement.” The power of three that President Jefferson illustrates is a main point that he wanted to present to his audience as he continues to talking about the topic. The power of three phrase is one that he may have wanted his audience to remember most out of the speech because of its importance. The power of three made the speech more interesting and clear, it gave me something to really focus on during the speech and to remember when the speech is done as I’m sure it did with his audience at the time. One of the metaphors that he uses is “facts are piercing through the veil drawn over them…” This is a metaphor because facts can not pierce a veil. It’s just a phrase to help people picture the meaning and understand more clearly.

The rhetorical devices that President Thomas Jefferson uses in his second inaugural address were elevated diction, tone, power of three, and metaphors. [Which helped his speech by proving his worthiness as president, proving his seriousness, and helping the public understand his point.]

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