America, just having emerged from a recession, is now facing a raise in steel prices from the nation’s largest steel companies. On April 11, 1962 Kennedy addresses his opinion to Americans on the subject. In his speech he included many persuasive strategies. President Kennedy uses diction, pathos, and logos to criticize the increase in steel prices. The use of diction in Kennedy’s speech is very apparent. In the first paragraph on lines 4-5 he uses the words “unjustifiable, irresponsible, and defiance.” These words express his opinion and further condemn the problem Americans are facing. The words “unjustifiable” and “irresponsible” are used to chastise the boost in steel prices and convince Americans that there is no logical or justifiable reason in doing so.
Kennedy also uses the word “defiance” to cause anger by making the steel companies seem like they have no regard for authority or opposition. He also uses diction to support his belief that the heightened steel prices will cause difficulties. JFK uses the word “handicap” in lines 43 and 37. “Handicap” is used to tell Americans what it will do to them. He is saying that it will cripple them and their efforts in rebuilding America from the recession. The use of logos can also be found in the President’s speech. The president uses logos to tell Americans how they will be affected. Kennedy argues that amplified steel prices “would add , Secretary McNamara informed me this morning, an estimated one billion dollars to the cost of our defenses.” He uses Secretary McNamara’s statistic to inform Americans that the increase in steel prices will ultimately raise taxes in order to pay for defenses and will take away from payment towards national security and other things.
Kennedy also says on lines 56-61: “Steel output per man is rising so fast that labor costs per ton of steel can actually be expected to decline in the next twelve months. And in fact, the Acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics informed me this morning that, and I quote: ‘Employment costs per unit of steel output in 1961 were essentially the same as they were in 1958.’”He is saying that productivity has increased, therefore, labor costs are declining, making escalated prices “unjustifiable.” On lines 69-73 Kennedy states that the steel companies dividends have increased and “exceeded 600 million dollars in each of the last five years, and earnings in the first quarter of this year were estimated in the February 28th Wall Street Journal to be among the highest in history.” He is trying to say an increase in profits even though dividends also increased in the last five years does not justify an increase in steel prices because the heightened prices affect Americans negatively.
Kennedy tells Americans that if the actions taken by steel companies is imitated by the rest of the industry “it would increase the costs of homes, autos, appliances, and most other items….” Pathos is used in the President’s speech to grab the emotions of Americans and provoke anger toward the steel companies decisions. On lines 4-5 Kennedy argues that an increase of “6 dollars ton” does “…constitute a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest.” The use of diction with such harsh words makes this statement so successful in provoking anger. The strong denotation of “unjustifiable, irresponsible, and defiance” make Americans feel as if they have been betrayed, used, and unfairly treated, thus evoking anger.
Also on lines 46-47 JFK says, “The facts of the matter are that there is no justification for an increase in the steel prices.” This statement goes back to how Kennedy uses the words “no justification” to make the raise in steel prices seem as if they were done carelessly and without thought, which is intended to frustrate Americans and cause them to question the steel companies reasonings. President Kennedy uses many rhetorical strategies in his speech. Some are more prominent than others. In his speech though, he ties them all together to criticize and to legitimize his opinions on the raising of steel prices.
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