Kennedy's Persuasive Techniques in the Rice Stadium Moon Speech

Categories: John F. Kennedy


Since the advent of the industrial revolution, nations have engaged in a continual competition, vying for supremacy in fields such as medicine, technology, and education. One pivotal moment in this race for technological prowess unfolded in 1957 when Russia achieved the milestone of launching the first artificial satellite. This event marked the genesis of the space age and ignited the space race between the United States and the U.S.S.R. Amid this era of fierce competition, President John F.

Kennedy delivered the Rice Stadium Moon Speech, employing strategic use of syntax and ethos to persuade the American people to rally behind NASA's ambitious goal of sending a spacecraft to the moon.

Establishing Ethos: The Professorial Approach

Kennedy commences his persuasive endeavor by attempting to establish credibility with his audience through ethos. By humorously declaring himself an "honorary visiting professor," he assumes a role that resonates with his student audience, implying that he has valuable knowledge to impart. The deliberate brevity of his "first lecture" conveys an air of significance, encouraging the audience to anticipate a concise yet impactful lesson.

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This subtle positioning allows Kennedy to foster a sense of trust, making it easier to persuade the audience to support NASA's lunar ambitions.

Moreover, Kennedy reinforces his credibility by enumerating the remarkable advancements in human history, ranging from the primitive "use of skins of animals to cover" to the modern marvels of "penicillin…television and nuclear power." This historical perspective not only showcases Kennedy's knowledge but also positions him as a leader cognizant of humanity's progress.

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By aligning himself with the narrative of human achievement, Kennedy effectively gains the trust of his audience, a crucial element in his persuasion strategy.

The Power of Syntax and Word Choice

Kennedy's choice of words and sentence structure serves as a persuasive tool to galvanize American citizens in support of NASA's lunar ambitions. Employing phrases such as "10,000 automobiles…as tall as a 48 story structure… [and] as wide as a city block," Kennedy employs relatable, tangible comparisons that resonate with the average person's understanding of everyday measurements. By employing language accessible to the common man, Kennedy bridges the gap between the complexity of space exploration and the everyday experiences of his audience, facilitating a deeper connection.

Furthermore, Kennedy strategically taps into national pride by describing his surroundings as "noted for" knowledge, progress, and strength. This intentional word choice instills a sense of patriotism among the audience, fostering a collective desire for their country to be at the forefront of scientific exploration. By linking the audience's support for NASA with a broader sentiment of national pride, Kennedy artfully intertwines the personal with the collective, reinforcing the persuasive impact of his speech.

Conclusion: Crafting a Persuasive Vision for the Future

In conclusion, President Kennedy's Rice Stadium Moon Speech stands as a masterclass in persuasive oratory, strategically employing ethos and syntax to garner support for NASA's ambitious lunar mission. By positioning himself as an honorary professor, invoking a historical narrative of human achievement, and utilizing relatable language, Kennedy successfully fosters trust and connection with his audience. The deliberate choice of words and the invocation of national pride further contribute to the effectiveness of Kennedy's persuasive techniques, leaving an indelible mark on the collective consciousness and inspiring a nation to reach for the stars.

Written by Mia Hernandez
Updated: Jan 18, 2024
Keep in mind: this is only a sample!
Updated: Jan 18, 2024
Cite this page

Kennedy's Persuasive Techniques in the Rice Stadium Moon Speech. (2016, Mar 20). Retrieved from

Kennedy's Persuasive Techniques in the Rice Stadium Moon Speech essay
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