By definition, rhetoric is the art of convincing speaking or writing, which utilizes figures of speech and other methods. This form of art has been used for centuries in the world, mostly by political leaders. Rhetoric is advantageous because it has reduced disagreement cases that result to violence and introduced debates. This often takes place by engaging in cogent discussion. The debates are commonly based on shared arguments, which both the writer and the reader can agree on even if they do not have the same opinion about the document. In order to understand this concept effectively, speeches have to be critically reviewed. The most relevant speeches that illustrate this concept are political speeches.
On October 8 2012, Mitt Romney delivered a speech titled “The Mantle of Leadership.” This speech was based on foreign policies in the United States of America and was addressed to the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. From this speech, it is evident that rhetoric was used when writing and delivering it. Throughout the speech, Mitt exhibited mature characteristics where there were no arguments that rose. He outlined his thoughts by criticizing President Obama’s role in foreign policies in the U.S. He made several critical comments that are rhetoric in nature within his speech. Some of the points he stated have received opposition from certain members in the society.
In order to come up with a persuasive speech, one has to use the three rhetoric appeals. These are Logos, Pathos and Ethos. In his speech, Mitt talks about how the United States foreign policies are not effective. He criticizes Obama’s administration with a rhetorical tone. This is evidenced when he referred to the case in Syria where U.S. army men were killed and the American flag burned. The army men in Afghanistan also lost their lives during their confrontation with Al-Qaeda. He tries to provide a negative insight into president Obama’s government. He mentions of how the policies have not protected the rights of army men in the country. This was a rhetorical mistake because the speech can be viewed as a defensive. From the practical level, Mitt was offended by the foreign policies enacted by Obama. Therefore, he resolved to offer a speech that was against president Obama’s foreign policies. However, he did not use any abusive words against the president. Hence, his speech is considered as cooperative.
In his speech, he has used the logos rhetorical appeal. This approach makes use of reason to convince the audience. This is evidenced when he talks fervently and in length about the president’s lack of leadership and resolving skills. He tries to make the audience understand how the current foreign policies are bad for the country. Mitt gave the chronological hardships America has undergone throughout the years in relation to foreign policies. Since he was campaigning against Obama, he reflected on the terrible incidences that had taken place over the years that Obama had been president. He used this strategy so that the audience can have a view and understand how Obama’s foreign policies are bad for the country. This method helped him in convincing the audience that he was best suited for the job as president of the U.S.
Moreover, logos use proof to convince their audiences disregarding their emotions and the rhetor’s status. Mitt provided the addressees with the exact incidences when American people had suffered because of poor foreign policies. He narrates on the incidences where American army men had been murdered while in Libya, which meant that America failed to lead in Syria. He explains of the constant war between America and Al-Qaeda in Iraq that has been present over a couple of years. He believes that these strategies destroy international relations between the U.S. and Middle East countries. He also gives the audience the foreign policies that he would enact if he would be elected president. Through the proofs he provides, he is able to convince the audience that the foreign policy are not good and his would be better.
The second rhetorical approach that he used is ethos. Ethos rhetorical appeal focuses on the audience opinion about the rhetor’s authority. This appeal exists in two types: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic ethos focuses on what a rhetor says to the audience on the outside. Mitt is a well-known politician in the United States of America. He is a former governor of Massachusetts and a Republican presidential nominee. The leadership qualities that he has make it easy for him to convince his audience quite easily. He is already influential because has been a leader in his region in the past. Moreover, the speech shows that he has more experience in the political arena hence the audience tends to believe him. Thus, the speech he delivers by narrating the exact events that took part acts as a boost for him. The audience ends up being more convinced than if Mitt was not a political leader. This example illustrates extrinsic ethos.
However, if he had failed to deliver a well-written speech, the audience would have lot their confidence in him. For instance, if he had delivered a speech with baseless accusations, he would have lost the audience’s confidence. His speech would have lost meaning and his ethos would have taken a shift to being intrinsic. Alternatively, if he had exhibited his knowledge pertaining to international war, the audience would find it fascinating that he has more knowledge about a field he has no specialty. Therefore, they would have more belief in him and it would be easier to convince them. This is also an example of intrinsic ethos.
Finally, the last rhetorical appeal is pathos. It describes the rhetor’s demand to offer what the audience expects. This is commonly done by understanding the audience sense of individuality, emotions and self-interest. Mitt’s speech created an emotional feeling. He showed sorrow towards the Americans who had died in Afghanistan during the clashes with Al-Qaeda. He felt sorrow for the 15 families that had lost their loved ones during the war. He got annoyed because of the three innocent Americans who died in Benghazi, Libya during a peace mission. These emotions present in his speech played a major role in compelling his addressees. He used them to be able to convince the audience that he understood the pain and agony that they were going through. This rhetoric appeal enabled him to convince his audience that he has good intentions of being the president.
In addition, he put the audience’s self-interest into consideration when delivering the speech. He understood that the audience needed a leader who understood their needs. He made use of what America needed during incidences of war. This is because he outlined the actions that he would put in place if he were elected as the president. He gave detailed information such as creating good international relations with countries in the Middle East that were willing to do business with the U.S. He explained that he would restrict Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The size of his army would be increased by building 15 more ships yearly. His strategies proved to the audience that he was interested with the needs of the audience. Consequently, he was able to convince the audience to vote for him in the general elections.
The audience sense of identity was portrayed in the speech. The audience that was addressed during this speech was military men. This was the reason why most of his explanations were related to army men in the U.S. He talked about strategies that would favor army men and gain them respect in the country. These strategies include working closely with American partners in Syria in order to reduce cases of war in the region that often results to death. He would also retrieve American soldiers from Iran and replace them with Afghan security forces. This would result to reduced number of deaths within the American army. Moreover, the audience addressed was Americans. Mitt made an effort and identified the importance of the American nation. He narrates of the self-interest of America, which is to establish good relationships with other nations in the world and gain leadership in some countries.
In conclusion, Mitt Romney speech used rhetoric. Rhetoric appeals are important when convincing an audience about a specific subject or topic. These steps helped him gain interest from the audience. The addressees were convinced that Mitt was fit to being the president of the United States of America. This fact is exhibited by the number of votes he received during the general elections. He lost the elections with a slight difference between his total percentage votes and his opponents.