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Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 11/14/2011 03:09 PM
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October 28, 2011
WRTG 1150
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address

Speeches, radio, television, conversation, newspaper and magazine articles, songs, websites — we are constantly surrounded by rhetoric. Whether or not we are aware of its value, it encompasses our daily actions. There are three important elements of rhetoric in which we encounter daily: the appeal to emotions, feelings, and values (pathos), the use of character to establish credibility and trustworthiness (ethos), and the appeal to reason or facts (logos). A respectively, well-known speech that distinctly incorporates each element of rhetoric is the address President Abraham Lincoln gave at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, commonly known as the "Gettysburg Address." Orton Carmichael, author of the “Gettysburg Address” stated, “Greatness in a speech, like greatness in men, or in events, is usually recognized only when seen through the haze of distance which the passing years bring”.   Often in hindsight, such speeches are recognized as just that. The "Gettysburg Address" is one held of high regard, and the analysis of its rhetorical elements nonetheless fortifies its significance.
The situation surrounding the address was very emotional, and president Lincoln pleaded to the audience’s emotion by using various forms of pathos. Only two years into the war and the United States had suffered the greatest number of American servicemen deaths, more than the Vietnam War and the world wars combined. Lincoln was speaking to an audience that was filled with grief and anger at the devastating loss of so many of its people. They were exhausted from this long, brutal war. Lincoln first began by acknowledging the emotional state of the country. He referenced the extreme difficulty even a nation "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” would experience in the long, drawn-out war. He proceeded to use this emotional state to further...

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