Logos, ethos, and pathos

Table of contents

Logos

Barack Obama mainly relies on ethos and pathos in his "Yes We Can" speech, but you can also identify some important examples of logos.

The speaker appeals to the audience’s reason by using logical arguments to support his view.  The most relevant example of logos from the text is the passage in which he gives the audience historical facts to support the idea that America is built on hope:

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. […]It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists…

The passage continues with other examples that prove to the audience that America is built on hope and change.

The speaker also uses logos indirectly when he alludes to the fact that polls suggest that he is a serious candidate for the presidency: “But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.”; “nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change”. In other words, Obama reminds his audience that he lost to Clinton only by a small margin and that he anticipates future victories.

Ethos

The speech is filled with ethos, as Obama frequently makes both himself and the American people appear trustworthy, caring or knowledgeable.

For example, Obama presents himself as a winner even though he actually lost, drawing authority from ...

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