The American rhetoric of Presidents like Barack Hussein Obama and John F. Kennedy, who both served the United States of America are found in the corners of history. Their voices in the inaugural addresses that they both delivered are very influential that even the younger generations could fathom. In this paper, the comparison and contrast of the inaugural addresses of Barack Hussein Obama and John F. Kennedy will be discussed. There are four factors to consider in comparing and contrasting the inaugural address of both presidents.
The aforementioned factors include historical perspective, manner of presentation, content, and as well as influence to the people and existing conditions. Basically, the inaugural speeches of Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy are given after reciting the oath of office as newly-elected leaders of the country. Another similarity is the presence of almost all governmental leaders across the country to witness the event and to listen to the inaugural addresses.
The said events that happened in different time are watched by various individuals around the globe through television, the Internet and other channels of information. In other words, the inaugural speeches of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama are part of world history knowing that the United States of America is still the most powerful and influential nation in the world. The first point is the comparison and contrast of both speeches in accordance with historical perspective.
Simply put, the inaugural address of each government leader is influenced by historical factors at the time it was delivered before the public. In case of John F. Kennedy, the speech was given when the country just won the Second World War via brave spirits of American fighters who redeemed freedom through death and agony because of the bloodshed. On the other hand, Barack Obama delivered his speech amidst economic crisis that the country is facing with hopes of getting over it.
In the first, America is enjoying the fruits of winning the war while in the second; the country is beset with economic problems that caused tremendous trials and difficulties. That is the reason why the tenor of Kennedy’s speech is focused on world unity against tyranny while the speech of Obama is geared more on economic progress within the country. The second point of this paper focuses more on the manner of presentation of both inaugural addresses. This argument is more related in the first except that this is more detailed.
It is undeniable that Obama is more eloquent compared to Kennedy that is why he received more applause from the audience. However, it can be gleaned in the way Kennedy presented his speech that he is more relaxed compared to Obama, perhaps, because the latter is facing more burden in saving the economy which the former do not have to consider as top priority. At the time when Kennedy delivered his speech, he is confident that the country is wealthy and even offered to help or assist those countries that are poor if permitted (Eidenmuller, 2001, p. 1).
Aside from that, the eloquence of Obama was given more meaning when the listeners who are present during the inauguration applauded him more; knowing that majority of the people believed that the new President will surely save the country from economic crisis. On the other hand, it was Kennedy who stressed that people should not think on what the government could do to the people but what the people could contribute to the country (Eidenmuller, 2001, p. 1). The content of the inaugural speeches of both Presidents is the third point to be discussed in this paper.
As heirs of the first revolution, Kennedy mentioned that Americans are willing to pay whatever it may be, just to advance the interest of liberty and freedom (Eidenmuller, 2001, p. 1). Hence, Kennedy is more concerned of world peace and unity in the sense that bloodshed caused by war should not happen again. On the other hand, Obama mentioned that the country cannot flourish long once it gives special treatment only the prosperous (Phillips, 2009, p. 1). In other words, Obama is trying to remind the people that the market cannot spin out of control if their watchful eyes are practiced.
Lastly, both speeches are influential and delivered in accordance with existing conditions of time. President John F. Kennedy is aware of the effects of war and tyranny which posed threat to the nation prior to his rise to power. His speech is focused on the way every American give example to other citizens of the world that doing the right thing is better than sowing hatred and inhumane values. With respect to the speech of President Barack Obama, he is more concerned of the economy and of eliminating government programs that does not work for the benefit of the people.
Finally, both speeches deserve to be remembered even up to this time, and the generation to come because their words are product of raw realizations and commitment to serve the American nation with honor and gratitude.
Eidenmuller, Michael E. “John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address”. 2001. American Rhetoric. Retrieved July 11, 2009 <http://www. americanrhetoric. com/speeches /jfkinaugural. htm>. Phillips, Macon. “President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address”. 21 January 2009 < http://www. whitehouse. gov/blog/inaugural-address/. >