The speech you are about to see and hear, and also read (I have included a transcript in a separate link) was given by Dwight David Eisenhower on January 17th, 1961, his last day as the 34th president of the United States. “Ike,” as Eisenhower had been known since his early days in the U.S. Army, was elected to the presidency eight years earlier, with his fame and popularity stemming not merely from his affable charm but from the fact that he was perceived by many (in America and abroad) as the cool-headed general who, as Supreme Allied Commander of Armed Forces in Europe, led the U.S. and her allies to victory over Nazi Germany during World War Two. And early in his term as president, the one-time five-star general of the army (a very rare rank to attain) helped bring about the end of the Korean War, in which American troops fought for three years.
During his term in office, America sat astride the world like a colossus. While the economies of Western Europe and Asia were still in chaos after the ravages of WWII, the economy of the United States, largely untouched by the physical destruction that laid low so many places where the war had been fought, was the envy of the world. After the traumas of the Great Depression and WWII, ordinary Americans and many soldiers and sailors returning from war, were eager to buy new cars, the new product called a television set, and more homes than could be built. This is the era that brought us the baby boom.
For all that was going right for America at the start of the ‘60s, “Ike” had some concerns, which he spelled out in simple terms in this speech, which is one of the first times a U.S. president had used television in this way, and is regarded as quite a successful speech.
Your assignment is to write a short essay in which you will apply what you have learned in this course to assess and critique this speech. You will want to listen, watch and read it several times. You’ll need to look past the primitive black-and-white video tape with an eye and ear on such questions as:
1) What do you assess Eisenhower’s standpoint to be? (Consult our text for more on standpoint). Is his standpoint consistent with that of a career military man? If so, why? If not, why not? Use examples from the speech to support your opinion.
2) What sort of speech is this? Is it informative, persuasive, invitational, or something else?
3) What were his goals? What were his concerns? And what sort of language did he use – concrete or abstract or both? Cite examples. Was his delivery appropriate – meaning his pacing pitch, vocal variety, etc.?
4) Is it well-reasoned? That is to say, does he engage in any fallacies? If so, are they intentional? Is he being honest or he is trying to twist his language to make is point? What was his ethos? Did his speech have logos? Despite his rather dry delivery, what evidence do you see of pathos, if at all?
5) What sorts of questions is he addressing: questions of value, fact, or policy (or all three)?
6) Does he seem well prepared, rehearsed and practiced? How, if at all, does he use gestures to emphasize his points? Such as?
These are among the questions you might want to consider as you evaluate and critique this speech. You may wish to apply other course concepts as well.
YOUR SUBMISSION NEEDS TO BE IN THE FORM OF AN ESSAY.
DO NOT WRITE A NUMBERED LIST OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. SUCH SUBMISSIONS WILL RECEIVE A FAILING GRADE.
You DO NOT need to write a Reference page. However, you do need to properly cite the parts of the speech you use (either as a quotation or something you are discussing) in your essay in APA format for in-text citation/parenthetical citations. Use the page numbers on the transcript for your citations. Such as:
“Eisenhower called for a balancing of our priorities so that the needs of government and the needs of citizens were weighed carefully, which he saw as a product of good judgment” (p. 2).
In whatever is your first parenthetical citation, you’ll include Eisenhower’s name and the year of the speech, such as: (Eisenhower, 1961, p. 2).
I mandate no minimum or maximum length. However, if you only have a page or two (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times Roman) that will probably be too short. More than four or five is probably too long.
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