Political Speech Analysis

PoliticalSpeech Analysis

JohnKennedy was born to a rich political Irish-American family on 29 May1917 in Massachusetts. In 1960, Kennedy won the Democratic Partypresidential nomination and subsequently defeated Richard Nixon inthe general election during the same year (American Rhetoric).Earlier in life, Kennedy was in the Navy as a seaman and was lateremployed by the Hearst newspapers as a journalist for a short time.Later on in 1946, he joined politics and won the Senate seat in 1952.Kennedy was unique because he presented himself to the Americanvoters as a young president to lead a new generation, which helpedhim win the 1961 election to become America’s 35th president.Kennedy became the youngest presidents in America at the age of 43(American Rhetoric). Besides, he was a Catholic leader, which wasunusual in the United States. During his inaugural speech, Kennedygave a legendary address, which inspired the people to work togetherto build, promote young leaders and promote human rights and peaceacross the country and globally.

Duringhis inauguration on 20 January1960,President Kennedydelivered one of the most notablespeeches in the American history. The speech was written by TheodoreSorensen, a law graduate from theUniversity of Nebraska. After graduating, Sorensenmovedto Washington where he worked as a junior government lawyer (Sorensen90). Later Kennedy, who was then a newly elected Democratic Senatorfor Massachusetts, hired Sorensen, and the two started to worktogether to achieve their common political agendas (Sorensen 95). Hewas best known for working with President Kennedy in his inauguralspeech in 1961, which he drew from the Bible and the speeches ofWinston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson (Sorensen 199). He wasKennedy’s trusted adviser and strategist who ensured that thepresidency had the best election strategies and foreign policy.Sorensenwasmore than a writer was as his efforts were crucial in shapingKennedy’s image and legacy (Sorensen 203). Histalent was much recognized in a book that later won Kennedy thePulitzer Prize. AfterKennedy’s assassination, Sorensen started participating in politicsand practicing law (Sorensen 397). Sorensen directed the speech atthe American people as it portrayed Kennedy’s five personalobjectives, which he aimed at achieving through his tenure in office.Helater diedat the age of 82 in Manhattan.

Thespeech addressed the concern of peace in the American community bycalling for dialoguesand negotiations to handle pressing world issues thus, promotepeace. Kennedy tenure was during the cold war, which consisted ofseveral developments such as the push of the missile gap theory andthe rising competition in the newly independent third world nationsbetween communists and capitalists. Consequently, the speech enabledKennedy to ease the tension generated by the cold war. Therefore,Kennedy articulated his belief that the status of the Presidencyshould be restored after Eisenhower’s long and cautious term inoffice, which contributed to shaping his speech (Grier).However, he affirmed that the American people should stand firmagainst any armed intrusion on their freedom.Furthermore, Kennedy’s speech was both world changing and ofimportance to the greater American community. It marked the beginningof a new American administration and foreign policy determined upon apeaceful success in the West`s Cold War struggle with the SovietUnion over the world`s future direction. According to Kennedy,through peaceful dialogue with the Soviet Union, America could avertthe impending crisis in Cuba, thus maintaining global peace(Grier).Hence, it was of a considerable impact because a war in America wouldhave resulted in disastrous effects.

Kennedy’saddress enables him to restore American prestige and leadershipthus, winning the support of newly independent states throughoutAfrica and Asia (Grier).During that time, most of these states sought the help of Moscowrather than turning to Washington, and this did not favor America.Kennedy wanted to win America more friends, which he did by pointingout his concern for worldwide poverty and dictatorship governance. Inhis speech, Kennedy clearly indicated thatAmerica would not promote tyranny after an extended period ofcolonialism inthenewly independent nations. Throughhis address, Kennedy showed that he was fully aware of his country’sstand on world issues that were affecting the American people. Hisinaugural speech mainly concerned itself with reaffirming America’sposition in the world(American Rhetoric).Thus, it placed America at the very core of the world stage.Additionally, it set a tone for the United States foreign policies aswell as those that would apply to Kennedy’s administration.Accordingly, the speech proved that Kennedy understood themost pressing global issues. Byso doing, he also promoted a greater American community thatcooperated with other nations for everyone’s benefit(Grier).

Furthermore,the oratory encouraged the American community to support youngleaders as Kennedy proved that they were fully capable of holdingimportant positions in the county. Thespeech showed the people the determination of a new generation readyto take on leadership and undertake even greater duties. Through thespeech, Kennedy demonstrated that he was a young leader who waswilling to take up greater responsibility in the country (Grier).Therefore, the speech influenced a greater American community becausepeople now understood that even young leaders could be endowed withthe responsibility, which they can perform to the best of thecapabilities to enhance the country’s performance. Besides, theoratory was more convincing because Kennedy avoided statements, whichwould relay political devotion (Grier).Furthermore, it recognized the thin margin of Kennedy’s win and hisdefeat in the House of Representatives contest.

Finally,Kennedyused a simple call to action urging the Americans to work for theircountry instead of always asking what the country could do for them(American Rhetoric). The line became one of the most a simple, butpowerful call for action from Kennedy to the American people.Kennedy’s words challenged the people to contribute actively to thecountry’s development agendas. It had a significant impact on thepeople back then as it does even to date. Moreover, many leaders haveregularly echoed the words from Kennedy’s historic speech and hisadministration’s policies (American Rhetoric).

Inconclusion, Kennedy’s presidency advocated for the protection ofthe human rights and through peaceful coexistence in the world.Although his administration faced challenges of instability due tothe Cold War, he still managed to raise the hope of the Americanpeople by encouraging them to work hard towards greater community.Likewise, he affirmed America’s position and prestige by seekingthe friendship and support of newly independent nations in Asia andAfrica by actively participating in emerging issues. His inauguralspeech has been a masterpiece that has actively shaped the Americansociety and the world to what it is today. John Kennedy had a visionthat was well articulated by Theodore Sorensen in his speech, whichwas significant in capturing captures hisaims and legacy.Unfortunately, Kennedy was assassinated after two years in officebecoming the youngest American president to die at the age of 46.


AmericanRhetoric. “John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address.” AmericanRhetoric 20 Jan. 1961. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

Grier,Peter. “John F. Kennedy Inaugural Speech: How Good Was It?” TheChristian Science Monitor 20 Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

Sorensen,Ted. Counselor. S.l.: HarperCollins e-Books, 2014. Internetresource.