President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address

This study guide will help you analyze the State of the Union address by George W. Bush from 2002, which was the first of its kind after 9/11. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on topic, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances, and intention.

Presentation of the speech

Title: “2002 State of the Union Address”
Speaker: George W. Bush
Context: George W. Bush’s first term as US President, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Date of speech: January 29, 2002

George W. Bush (b. 1946) served as the US President from 2001 to 2009. He comes from a family of politicians and is known for declaring a global War on Terror after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. His second term saw a decrease in his popularity because of a series of policies such as the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act (which gave more power to police and intelligence agencies). Today, he is considered one of the least popular US Presidents.

You can watch the speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


George W. Bush appeals to trust and authority numerous times in his speech. These are attempts to make himself appear trustworthy, caring, or knowledgeable: “When I called our troops into action, I did so with complete confidence in their courage and skill. And tonight, thanks to them, we are winning the war on terror.” 

Furthermore, the speaker strives to make the audience and Congress appear as equally trustworthy, united by the same goals and values: “History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight.”; “September the 11th brought out the best in America, and the best in this Congress.” 


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President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address

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