This study guide will help you analyze John F. Kennedy's 'Going to the Moon' Speech. In addition to help for your analysis, you can find a summary of the text.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States. Kennedy’s Moon speech – officially known as the Address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Effort – is delivered in 1962 to the audience present at Rice Stadium, on the Rice University Campus.
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Kennedy appeals to ethos when he declares that he speaks from the position of “an honorary visiting professor”. This makes him appear humble and more approachable, as he does not present himself as the president of the United States.
Kennedy also builds ethos when he talks about the “Nation's own scientific manpower” and about America’s “leadership in science and in industry” (l. 85). He borrows ethos from scientists, a feature which makes him appear respectful towards those involved in technological and scientific development.
When he presents the technology that is developed with the purpose of landing a man on the Moon, Kennedy appears knowledgeable. Moreover, as he uses the expertise of scientists to back up his ideas, he also appears ambitious and convincing. Similarly, Kennedy builds ethos by mentioning the expertise of Newton and Mallory, whom he sees as examples and models of ambition.