Barack Obama’s 2012 victory speech explores the themes of American diversity, hope, and responsibility. His overall message is one of hope and resistance – arguing that American diversity is a strength that moves the US forward.
The speaker’s overall intention with the speech is to convince the audience to accept his message that diversity in the US is a source of strength and that cooperation is needed to move the country forwards.
Diversity and cooperation
As the speech unfolds, the speaker follows specific, narrower aims. In the first part of the speech, his intention is to thank those who supported him during his campaign. In particular, he wants to convince the audience of the First Lady’s and Vice President Joe Biden’s qualities, which is an appeal to ethos (trust and authority): “I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation's first lady.” ; “I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice-president…”
In this part of the speech, Obama uses ethos to make American voters feel involved (so that he can convince them that victories come with responsibilities): “It moves forward beca...