Analysis

In this section of the study guide, you can read a brief presentation of our analysis of Barack Obama's announcement speech.

Barack Obama's announcement speech was delivered in 2007 and the circumstances were the start of the electoral race for the American presidency. At that time, the speaker, Barack Obama, was an Illinois Senator and was not considered a major player in American politics.

Consequently, beside announcing his candidacy, Obama’s intention with the speech is to convince the audience (the American public) that he is suitable for running for President, that he is able to represent the interests of the American people, and that his electoral platform reflects American society’s needs.

To achieve this purpose, the speaker explores some of the most pressing issues in American society in 2007, the main topic of his speech being the importance of American unity to effect change.

To make his speech more appealing and his arguments more convincing, Barack Obama uses a series of language strategies, mainly in the form of rhetorical devices. Historical allusions to Abraham Lincoln, repetitions and enumerations, together with direct address manage to capture the audience’s attention and to make Obama sound more convincing.

To these he adds rhetorical appeals to emotions, trust, and authority which are designed to stir a strong response in the audience and to gain their allegiance in his electoral campaign.

Overall, we can say that Barack Obama’s speech is a good example of a rhetorically skilled, well-structured, and context-relevant speech in politics.

Read our full analysis of the speech in the next pages!