Public Speaking by American Politicians

Kennedy’s Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association

Kennedy’s speech primarily addresses the American cove values that should not be related to person’s religious beliefs. At the very beginning of the speech, the future Presidents states that the state and religion should be absolutely separated from each other because being Catholic, Protestant, or Baptist is each individual’s own business.

In this respect, Kennedy’s emphasizes that the President will never rely on church while introducing political, social, and cultural reforms to the United Stated. At the same, Kennedy’s assures that his religious judgment will never affect his attitude to people from diverse religious group because he focuses primarily on the idea of human equality and religious tolerance of the highest priority.

To underscore this position, the future Presidents highlights the controversial issues of people’s judgment who believe that religion can have an impact on government because he was the first Catholic president. However, his notice about people’s negligence of other Presidents’ religious beliefs showed that personal perceptions do not influence the objectivity of their policies.

To make the speech more persuasive, Kennedy refers to the idea of religious groups should not be connected to political and economic affairs in the country because religious diversity is more associated with personal beliefs. The candidate manages to explain that the U.S. Constitution does not uphold any religious oaths and, therefore, it is the President’s obligation to adhere to democratic and equality principles.

Presenting his objective and transparent views on the American social structure, Kennedy effectively expands on the concept of freedom, liberty, and loyalty to people, rather than to church. At the end, Kennedy addresses American people and makes them judge his actions rather his personal religious position.

Analysis of Introductions and Conclusions of Speeches

Introducing a specific topic should attract readers and provide them with the reason for listening to the speech up to the end. Therefore, the opening part of a speech plays an essential role. In this respect, most speech start either with a concrete story, or a provoking thesis that is unknown and intriguing and that generates more questions than answers.

Several speeches have been analyzed – Barack Obama’s Campaign Policy Speech on Iraq, Movie speech presented by Russell Crow in Beautiful Mind, and Abraham Lincoln’s speech on Second Inaugural Address. All the spokespersons applied to different strategies for attracting the audience. Hence, Obama’s speech starts his address to the audiences by referring to the historical facts and comparing those with present situation.

In such a manner, the President manages to establish credibility and review the main thesis of a narration (Obama n. p.). John Nash in Beautiful Mind starts his speech with asking a tricking questions which captures the audience and makes them focus on further narration. Finally, Abraham Lincoln hooks the listeners with a controversial and even negatively colored issue (n. p.). All these techniques are effective for gaining attention.

Similar to the opening parts of the narration, the concluding parts have also presented a logical continuation of the main idea. Hence, Obama makes use of a thematic frame and ends his speech with disclosing historical facts that have been mentioned at the beginning. John Nash provides an extensive answer to the question that he posed in the opening part (n. p.). Finally, Abraham Lincoln refers to similar sentence structure to bring in a concluding idea.

Language Choice and Its Contribution to the Effectiveness of Speech

Language reflects cultural and social context of a particular country and, therefore, the effectiveness of the speech heavily depends on this aspect. Specific attention is paid to the connotative meaning of words rendering the main idea of a narration. While reviewing the text of the speech delivered by Margaret Chase Smith, many stylistic and rhetoric devices can be noticed.

At this point, speaker refers to a number of metaphors like “national suicide”, “word of bitterness”, “congressional immunity”, as well as peculiar stylistic devices, such as anaphora presented in the following passage: “I speak as a Republican. I speak as a woman. I speak as a Untied States Senator. I speak as an American” (Smith 1).

The presented devices are used to intensify the main idea and highlight the seriousness of the described problem. Hence, Smith focuses on the national problem and reveals her discontent by introducing short repetitive sentence. In such a manner, her speech implies a calling for the American to take resolute actions.

Aside from stylistic and lexical devices, the spokesperson makes use of short paragraphs by transferring from idea to another. The approach allows to keep the audience focused on the main idea. Different viewpoints, as well as fluctuation in stylistic also captures the attention and interest.

Interestingly, mostly all adjectives and nouns presented in the speech are negatively colored, which also imposes a specific tone and idea. For instance, one can come across such words as “unworthy”, “restraint”, “frustration, “irresponsible”, “harm”, “selfish”, etc (Smith 2). Once again, the lexical meaning enhances the main argument of the speech.

Works Cited

A Beautiful Mind. John Nash: 1994 Noble Prize in Economic Sciences Acceptance Address. American Rhetoric. 2002. Web 27 Feb. 2012

Lincoln, Abraham. Second Inaugural Address. American Rhetoric. 4 Mar. 1865. Web. 27 Feb. 2012

Obama, Barack. Campaign Policy Speech on Iraq. American Rhetoric. 15 Jul. 2008. Web 27 Feb. 2012 <>

Smith, Margaret Chase. n. d. Declaration of Conscience. PDF file. 27 Feb. 2012