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Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Jefferson utilizes a serious tone to unify the country despite differences in political parties.

-Pathos: “Called upon to undertake the duties…the task is above my talents... my powers so justly inspire.”He begins his speech by stating that he is grateful for being chosen to be part of the office and he displays his humble demeanor by saying that the task of being president is above his talents and abilities but that he will provide the nation with his best regardless. This assures the reader of the type of man (which just so happens to be a good, morally-correct man) that they have chosen to be president. He displays himself as modest and humble, therefore causing admiration and reassurance in the readers/listeners.
- Ethos:   “should I despair did not the presence… provided by our Constitution I shall find…to rely under all difficulties.” He refers back to the main document of the nation and states that that document will provide and does provide everything needed in order to steer the nation to success. He also states how he trusts this document and everyone who wrote it and with this, he shows the public how since he and other great men made this document, there is a sense of trust to be put towards him. After all, the Constitution establishes the nation’s freedom that was very sought after years before.   This document also unites the nation, and doesn’t pay attention to mundane matters like political parties which was a conflict that was prevalent during that time.
• Diction:
- Unifying Diction: “we, us, all, nation, together, unite, brothers, man, public, fellow…” With the use of this diction, he brings together both political parties and does not label either one as a “federalist” or a “republican”. This mitigates the uneasy air that’s brewing in the nation after such a revolutionary election.
- Dutiful Diction: “safety, power, government, principle, right, law, country….” With this serious and dutiful diction, Jefferson displays himself as a...

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The article takes a deeper look at persuasion as a science. There are specific rules and laws that one must follow in order to succeed in being persuasive. Rhetoric not only evolves the usage of grammar, but of logic as well. There are many flaws in logic, called fallacies that can be found expressed through language. The fallacies however are beyond the scope of this paper and will not be covered here. Instead, some of the basic rhetoric elements will be defined and explored. To obtain this goal, the first presidential speech of Thomas Jefferson, his inaugural address, will be used. His speech will be examined in order to identify some of the many elements of rhetoric which it contains. Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He also was a great writer and orator. In addition to the address that will be analyzed through the course of this paper, he also wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. An educated man, he was the founder of the University of Virginia. People read his writings today and still marvel and admire his eloquence and style. Jefferson’s use of rhetoric pleased crowds and inspired them to take action. The greatness of the man showed up in his speeches. A linguistic analysis of his first inaugural address will expose his skill and demonstrate his ability to use words craftily. Jefferson believed that the ability to be persuasive is very important. He said, "In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance". Herein will the linguistic elements of Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address be discovered. An overall view of his address will reveal how Jefferson used different tones at different, strategic times, to better convey the message. He began with a tone that sounds humble and appreciative. Jefferson said, “I express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me.” Such a beginning relaxed the ego of the audience. As he progressed he developed more confidence and power. This is demonstrated when he says, “Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own…principles.” Jefferson showed that he believed very strongly in the principles that he was recommending the people uphold. In the end, he changes toward a conciliatory tone with the statement of his placating words, “we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists,” in an attempt to unify and empower the nation as one. The rhythm of tone that Jefferson used in his speeches aided his political career. He used tone to persuade and befriend his hearers. The Three Appeals – Pathos, Ethos and Logos The three appeals were identified by Aristotle, a Greek philosopher. These appeals are often employed to win arguments. Jefferson applied all of the three appeals in his address. The three appeals are pathos, ethos and logos. They are designed to play upon the minds of the hearers and prick their hearts. Jefferson knew how important the support of the populations was. He skillfully used each of the three appeals to create for himself a good image. The usage of the three appeals to logic within Jefferson’s first inaugural address will be identified. ...Show more