Canons of Rhetoric

Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Speech

The main goal of the speech was to drum up support for John Kerry’s presidential bid using the democratic ticket. The speech was well organized in a chronological pattern elaborating on Obama’s life events, Kerry’s exceptional public life in service, and how he could change the United States. Notably, the thesis statement of the speech detailed the importance of American diversity, equality, and the pursuit of success that were the foundations of the American dream.

Consequently, the main points presented by Obama focused on his life as the epitome of equality, the United States, and John Kerry’s presidential bid. Regarding himself, Obama acknowledged the honor to address delegates at the Democratic National Committee (Obama 00:00:07-00:00:11). He reiterated the privilege of being on a big stage due to equality owing to his humble background. Obama passionately affirmed the patriotism and diversity within the United States. Remarkably, his speech covered the unique role of those enlisting as marines and war veterans in protecting the nation (Obama 00:09:10-00:09:23). According to his address, the diversity within American society could benefit from tolerance and equality. Further, he conveyed his trust in Kerry’s dedication to change America.

The first canon of rhetoric used was the invention, as Obama brilliantly planned his thoughts to develop points that resonated with the audience. His cognitive function meticulously weaved in his life story to the American dream his parents envisaged (Obama 00:01:50-00:01:56). The use of arrangement enabled him to connect all parts of his speech. For example, he created rapport with the delegates from the start.

Next, there was perfect delivery through extemporaneous speaking. The speech increased intensity to climax as Obama discussed critical points on equality (Obama 00:11:20-00:11:27). It exemplified perfect oratory skills. Lastly, the cannon of style enabled the speaker to select witty words to capture the audience.

President John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address

The goal of this speech was to act as an inaugural address by president-elect John F Kennedy after being sworn in into office. The speaker organized the speech in a chronological pattern that detailed the new administration’s focus. The speech was informative, with the thesis statement focusing on patriotism, liberty, and collaboration with ally states.

The main points presented in this speech included the emphasis that Americans were heirs of a free state, affirmation of the dedication to liberty, and loyalty to allies. The president noted that Americans were beneficiaries of the first revolution for freedom (Kennedy 00:01:30-00:01:33). There was clarity that the new administration would continue upholding human rights within its borders and globally. Additionally, Kennedy made an absolute declaration of liberty of the United States in the speech. The president promised support to allies or fight against enemies to pursue American freedom (Kennedy 00:02:40-00:02:53). According to the president, the comfort of freedom was to extend to both old and new ally states and tyranny eradicated in totality.

The canons of rhetoric used included invention, arrangement, and delivery. The invention entailed how Kennedy identified patriotism, liberty, and support for allies as the key points to discuss. Interestingly, the canon of arrangement helped the speaker determine the sequence of delivering his points sensibly to the audience. The arrangement aided in the chronological outline of the points, one after the other. Lastly, Kennedy employed the right delivery of his speech, constantly moving his right arm, talking energetically and audibly to show emphasis.



Works Cited

Kennedy, John F. “President John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You”.” YouTube, uploaded by Educational Video Group, 15 Oct 2009,

Obama, Barack. “Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Speech.” YouTube, uploaded by CNN, 27 July 2016,

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