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John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

This study guide will help you analyze John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. In addition to help for your analysis, you can find a summary of the text. 

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th president of the United States. He served as president from 1961 to 1963, when he was assassinated. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address was delivered on January 20, 1961, when he was sworn president. 

Extract

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Pathos

Kennedy uses pathos to appeal to the emotions of the American people. First, he appeals to the feeling of fear when he talks about the danger of scientific developments: “For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life”. Here, he talks about the development of atomic weapons to suggest that mankind should be careful when dealing with this kind of power. Kennedy also appeals to fear when he talks about the “hour of maximum danger” that the world finds itself in. 

Pathos is created when Kennedy appeals to Americans’ feeling of pride. When he talks about the youthful generation he identifies himself with, Kennedy makes Americans feel proud:

… the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage – and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed… 

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John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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