Analysis

Here is an overview of the main ideas we will share in our analysis of Barack Obama’s inaugural address from 2009.

We will first focus on the topic of the speech, which is the importance of restoring responsibility in American society in the face of domestic and foreign policy challenges.

We continue by looking at the speaker—Barack Obama—and the way his background relates to his message and the themes of the speech. We will try to assess the way the speaker builds credibility by appealing to trust in American values and to the authority of his position or to religious ideas.

We reflect on the audience of the speech—the American public as well as international viewers—focusing on specific groups the speaker targets such as other states and peoples, or the average American, and explain his techniques for addressing his audience.

We will give you an overview of the language used by the speaker, looking at his formal style, at historical allusions, and the use of enumerations and repetitions which reinforce his arguments and his message.

The speaker’s intention—of convincing Americans to assume responsibility for present challenges and using American values to redress the situation—will be assessed in relation to the context and the topic of the speech.

We will further look at the circumstances of the speech and how they influence its content and the way it was received, considering that the beginning of the speaker’s first presidential term coincided with the beginning of the economic crisis.

You can read the full analysis on the following pages.