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Franklin Roosevelt: The Evolution of an American Idea Essay

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Updated: Jan 19th, 2022

There are many well-known speeches performed by politicians, sportsmen, and other notable people. However, there are only several addresses that are considered to be the most famous in the entire history of the United States of America. The following paper is intended to discuss and explain why the first inaugural speech of Franklin Roosevelt, the retirement announcement made by Lou Gehrig, John Kennedy’s inauguration address, and Martin Luther’s “Dream” disclosure are considered to be the most meaningful oratorical performances in the USA history.

Discussion

There is no doubt that Franklin Roosevelt was one of the greatest presidents of America. As he said in his inaugural speech, “first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance” (Katznelson, 2015, p. 236). It is a well-known fact that the country was facing an economic crisis in 1933. This address set the philosophy and showed the audience the president’s ruling agenda for the next 12 years of governing the strongest country in the world (Rung, 2017). The words said by Roosevelt changed the mentality of the Commonwealth’s population. Therefore, it can be claimed one of the most influential speeches in the world.

Lou Gehrig was a professional baseball player who had to retire in 1939 due to his permanent disease of sclerosis (Xia, Gao, Lu, & Ye, 2016). During his last game, the player addressed his fans to reveal the truth about his adverse health conditions. When Gehrig took the microphone, he said that he considered himself the luckiest man on Earth (Morgan, 2015). Indeed, this address showed all the fans of “The Iron Horse” that their support was essential for the player. However, Gehrig stressed on the fact that he could not continue his professional career anymore. This speech is referred to by contemporary baseball players, which demonstrates its importance for sportspeople.

It would be proper to state that the inaugural speech performed by John Kennedy in 1961 is considered to be one of the most sophisticated and influencing addresses in the entire world due to its structure and premise. The president told people not to ask what their country can do for them, but to ask what they can do for the USA (Stevenson, 2014). This performance is so special today because John Kennedy analyzed the audience he addressed before preparing the speech. Nowadays, this is the first rule of rhetorical effort. It is necessary to state that the television was only developing by that time. Therefore, the speaker had to make a precise overview of people’s values to capture their hearts.

Another famous speech in the history of America was made by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. The number of listeners who came to the Lincoln Memorial that day amounts to 250 000 individuals. Although Dr. King was discussing his “Dream”, he did not include any sequence of it in his address (Robinson & Topping, 2013). Moreover, the speaker had to improvise when speaking about “the Dream” because he was not prepared to answer his audience’s question at first.

Conclusion

The first inaugural address of Franklin Roosevelt, the retirement announcement made by Lou Gehrig, John Kennedy’s inauguration speech, and Martin Luther’s “Dream” disclosure are the most famous oratorical performances in the history of America. These events are recalled even today due to the memorable lines they presented. Also, each of these speeches had a significant influence on the country’s mentality.

References

Katznelson, I. (2015). On reading fear itself. Labor History, 56(2), 232-236. Web.

Morgan, J. (2015). Living in the shadow of dying. The Lancet Neurology, 14(9), 881. Web.

Robinson, J. L., & Topping, D. (2013). The rhetoric of power: A comparison of Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr. Journal of Management Inquiry, 22(2), 194-210. Web.

Rung, M. C. (2017). The four freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the evolution of an American idea. History: Reviews of New Books, 45(3), 62-62. Web.

Stevenson, D. (2014). Learning from the past: The relevance of international history. International Affairs, 90(1), 5-22. Web.

Xia, Y., Gao, Q., Lu, Y., & Ye, Q. (2016). A novel approach for analysis of altered gait variability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, 54(9), 1399-1408. Web.

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