March 9 2017

“A More Perfect Union”

Please consider the Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle we have discussed previously in class and Atticus’ summation, pp. 271-275.

Then, please read the speech entitled “A More Perfect Union Speech,” by then Senator Barack Obama, from March 2008.  It is posted on the handouts page of our website, as well as on the links page.  You can actually watch the video on the links page if you prefer.  As you read or watch this speech, consider:  what element of the rhetorical triangle can you see in this speech?  How do the ideas in this speech relate to our discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Then, blog!  On the blog please discuss your observations about the rhetorical triangle and the themes of both President Obama’s speech and Atticus’ summation.

Mockingbird blog #9

Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Posted March 9, 2017 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

29 thoughts on ““A More Perfect Union”

  1. maddy

    While analyzing Obama’s speech “A More Perfect Union”, I observed his usage of the three rhetorical appeals. The application of ethos is evident when Obama expanded upon his beliefs and background. He spoke of his experiences in the black community, and as a person of mixed race. Obama additionally addressed the racial issues he faced in his presidential campaign, as well as his Christian faith, diverse family, and political stances. Becoming furthermore knowledgeable of Obama enabled readers and listeners to be convinced of his character and credibility.

    Another rhetorical appeal Obama utilized is pathos. Topics such as discrimination and the enduring fight for equity had the potential to elicit emotional responses from his audience, thus contributing to the persuasion of his speech. Concurrence and personal relatability in accordance to Obama’s beliefs and background additionally produced an emotional effect. Obama speaking of being a devout Christian emotionally impacted Christians, and sharing his experiences as a black man emotionally impacted the black community. When Obama talked of being of an ethnically diverse background, for example, I found his speech to be somewhat more relatable and persuasive. Lastly, Obama’s speech was centered on the belief and goal of American unity, which he stated to regard as a commonplace concept among Americans. Obama conversed of American unity to rally further support for the cause, its additional support arguably purposed to have predominantly resulted from the certain emotions Obama’s speech spurred.

    Logos is also an apparent rhetorical appeal in “A More Perfect Union”. Obama cited occurrences such as the history of slavery and the establishment of the Declaration of Independence to support his reasoning as to why American unity is needed. Obama additionally incorporated his former pastor, Reverend Wright, who had stated problematic and controversial viewpoints, as an empirical example to further his logical reasoning.

    Likewise Atticus’ summation, Obama’s speech incorporates the significance of racial equality. Both of these works acknowledge that not everyone is equal, nor treated equally. On page two hundred and seventy-four, Atticus states, “‘We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe—some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others—some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.’” Ultimately, our differences are the roots of disunity and inequity. As Obama said, in order to dismantle disunity and inequity, thus promoting equal treatment, “It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.”

    1. faithw

      I agree that all three aspects of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle were employed in Obama’s speech. I also feel they were evident in Atticus’ closing arguments.

  2. charlottes

    As I read Senator Barack Obama;s speech, “A More Perfect Union,” I noticed he used all three sides of the rhetorical triangle – Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Ethos is used while explaining culture or a community’s beliefs. Pathos is used with emotions. When someone speaks using pathos, you feel what they’re feeling. Logos is used primarily with reason and judgement.

    Senator Obama used ethos while talking about his beliefs and where he grew up. He explained how he has a black father and a white mother He also explained his experiences in the black and white communities. Senator Obama also spoke about what he faced because of his skin color during his campaign. From using ethos, Obama convinces the audience to trust him using ethos.

    Next, Senator Obama uses pathos to make the audience feel something. Obama made his point about harmony and unity between every citizen of the U.S. He talked about how we must act as one to defeat problems. Senator Obama states,”;problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.” This is referring to world hunger and homelessness – problems of every race. He discussed themes such as discrimination, and how some people were against his campaign, yet he kept going. Senator Obama addressed his diverse background as well and how sometimes being mixed race was hard. This was definitely the emotional part of the speech.

    Finally, Senator Obama uses logos in the final stretch of his speech. This is that part that really makes people believe him. He uses this to make sure everyone knows why we all need to work together “to form a more perfect union.” He uses America’s flaws from the past, such as slavery and segregation to get across his point. He also speaks of the Declaration of Independence and why it didn’t work against discrimination in the past.

    The biggest similarity between Senator Obama’s speech and Atticus’s summation was the topic of discrimination and how to get rid of it (in other words, racial equality 0. Both Atticus and Senator Obama believe that everyone should have the same chances to succeed, no matter what their race. Atticus is not African American , but has seen how that can affect someone (Tom Robinson). This also goes back to why Judge Taylor chose Atticus to defend Tom – he knows Atticus will fight and try to give Tom the same chance to be plead not guilty. Senator Obama has seen what it is like to be African American and be discriminated against. He has the experience and has an idea of how to stop it. Atticus and Senator Barack Obama both believe that everyone has the same chance in the world.

    1. charlottes

      In my third paragraph, I meant to add as health care and education to the list of problems that affect everyone.

  3. caias1

    In “A More Perfect Union,” a speech by Barack Obama, he uses all elements of the rhetorical triangle. He uses ethos (credibility) in telling his own story. He describes his life, growing up as a biracial child, his church pastor, Christian faith, and the racial views in his political campaign.

    Obama also uses pathos (emotion) where he describes the problems people of all races must face; “As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity, racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems- two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, chronic healthcare crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.” He makes readers and listeners feel the fear and need to fix these problems.

    Lastly, Obama uses logos (logic and reason) to tell people that to fix our nation’s problems, we can not let race be a boundary in accomplishing these goals. He explains how racial divisions have caused major problems in the past, such as slavery and segregation.

    The major similarity in themes between Atticus’ summation and Barack Obama’s speech is the theme of race and discrimination. Both Obama and Atticus worked to get rid of racial discrimination in both everyday life and politics.

  4. christophert3

    Obama is a great and powerful speaker. His speech’s move people and, just like Aristotle said, incorporates the three parts of a persuasive argument: pathos, ethos, and logos. He incorporates these aspects of persuasion into his speech in many different places.
    There are a great deal of parts where he incorporates pathos into his speech. One is when he says, “This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.” This stimulates our emotions about the soldiers who are fighting for their LIVES in an unnecessary war. Another example of pathos was when he was telling the story of Ashley Baia and her story of fasting as a nine year old for an entire year for the sake of her mother. This stirs our emotions since the story is very touching and stirs pity for her and afterward, makes us support her greatly for her this story of hers.
    There aren’t that many examples of ethos in Obama’s speech since, being the president, he already has a lot of credibility.
    But there are a few examples of logos. For instance, he says, “This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.” This uses logic since he can’t really know that for sure, but many companies are moving over seas because of the cheaper pay for workers and so the great majority of people who are losing their jobs are because of this movement of the company they work for. This is just one of the examples of logos used by Obama in his speech.
    But as you can see, Obama does use pathos, ethos and logos to be more persuasive and make his speech stronger.

  5. alexo

    What I noticed when reading through Obama’s speech was the amount of pathos used. In every statement, he is strong and emotional, he tells about the crisis facing us, but then tells us that we can solve it, lifting us up from the state he had put us in. Although much of his argument is fact, the majority of it is the feeling you get when you hear this speech, or in our case, when we read it. he empowers us throughout the speech to get up and fix our problems in a way that not many people could.

  6. francescaa

    After reading Senator Obama’s speech “A More Perfect Union,” I realized that Senator Obama did in fact use three rhetorical appeals, ethos, pathos and logos. He used ethos by describing the life thus far. His credibility is reliable since he was in fact a Unites States senator as well as our former president. In his speech he expressed his beliefs growing up as a biracial child. He brings up the fact that he has a black father and a black mother and faced discrimination as a kid.

    Within his speech he also encouraged pathos. He used this appeal to pull the heartstrings of his audience. He stated that kids who are biracial aren’t the only ones who face difficult times; rather everyone does. People of every race and color have problems. He told people to fight for what’s right and basically treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Obama cleverly incorporated his Christian roots to relate to Christians while told about his experiences of being treated difference because he looked different.

    In the last part of his speech, Obama instilled knowledge and persuaded the nation to work together. He declared that the nation’s problems can only be fixed if we all work together. He said that race is the root to many of the nation’s problems. Slavery and segregation were all caused by people who were blinded by race. Clearly, Atticus and Obama believe that everyone should have a fair shot at equality.

  7. avae1

    In his speech, “A More Perfect Union” then Senator Barack Obama addresses the racial injustice and lack of unity in America. He urges Americans to defeat discrimination and journey closer to a stronger nation. He does this by using Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos.

    The fact that Obama was a Senator at the time of this speech gives him a lot of credibility, but what really makes people respect him on this topic is his ethnicity. Obama states that he has a black father and a white mother, with a white grandmother who played a substantial role in raising him. In this way, Obama has experienced life through both points of view, and can understand them thoroughly. He tells his stories as a boy growing up and his life as a Christian, which persuades people to trust him.

    It is evident that Obama uses logos in his speech by providing a method to resolve America’s problems. He specifically mentions the people of all races, white, black, Latino, Asian, that live with no health care or no homes in poverty. He explains that in order to help them we need to join together and lead as one.

    What was a significant factor in this speech was the use of pathos. Whether he was observing his good friend Reverend Wright, or the story of Ashley Baia and her mom, this speech was definitely created with passion. The way that Ashley desperately tried to help her struggling mother was emotional, and causes the reader to think about their own lives. The reader or listener can be inspired by the people that work hard in this country, and feel determined to create a stronger union together.

    I found this speech to be quite similar to the speech made by Atticus in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” They both are striving for greatness, whether it’s in Maycomb, Alabama, or the United States of America, they advise the people to work towards a better future. The idea of racial equality is acknowledged, and it was suggested by both to never be ignored. Although there will be people that make mistakes regarding the subject, moving past it is crucial. There is an opportunity for equality for all and we just have to take advantage of it.

  8. briannag3

    In Obama’s speech Pathos is the most evident. He speaks about his friend Reverend Wright and how even though he didn’t agree with everything that he said in his sermons, he still understood him. He did not agree with him on his views about America but that did not change the way he saw and respected him. Obama also spoke about Ashley Baia and her story. When she was just nine years old her mom was diagnosed with cancer, which means she couldn’t make that much money to provide for them. So Ashley convinced her mom that she liked mustard and relish sandwiches because that was the cheapest food to buy. Obama’s use of pathos in his speech really makes us think and is well imputed throughout.

  9. sofiad1

    In Obama’s Speech, Pathos is most evident. It is especially evident when talking about Reverend Wright, and his personal relationship with him. He talks about the impact he had on Obama’s life, and how it shaped him into the person he is today. On the other hand, Atticus’ closing remarks were very much Ethos. He always cites very credible sources, such as what evidence is credible in the case. He makes it so you feel there is no was to argue with him.

  10. arihantp1

    During his speech, Barack Obama incorporates all parts of the rhetorical triangle in “A More Perfect Union.” His speech is strong, emotional, and powerful, and he uses a lot of pathos, ethos, and logos to move his audience. When he gave his speech he was a senator giving him a lot of ethos. He uses logos to explain and show his audience what the major problem is and statistics on the racial divisions going on. Senator Obama uses pathos the most. He constantly stirs the audiences emotions, he uses certain words in distinct tones in give that word a bigger impact. He also constantly talks about the “American Dream” and how every one deserves a chance at it. He constantly brings up religion and his faiths, and talks very passionate about them. The themes that he incorporates into his speech are extremely similar to Atticus’s summation. Atticus, during his summation, does not speak as a lawyer to the jury but instead a friend. He also uses more pathos than ethos or logos to convey how the racial divisions in Maycomb county are not fair. The way Atticus gives his summation and the themes he uses are similar to Senator Obama’s speech.

    1. arihantp1

      In the 6th line its supposed to say “to give” not “in give” and it is supposed to be passionately not passionate.

  11. Tyler Newby

    In Former-President Obama’s speech, Pathos was used most. His speech was based on fact, and he spoke using facts, but his speech was full of emotion. He spoke of his experiences of being different from other people and his hardships, and he even spoke of his own parents. He even spoke about his own church and the effect it had on his life. He talks about the dark past of racism in the U.S and how it affected so many. Obama also says that we have gotten better with racism over the years, although not perfect, but we must continue to be united or else we will return to our racist past. “… if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.” he writes. Obama and Atticus both believe that if racism is entangled in the way of society that we can not truly be a union or truly have liberty.

  12. ilyssal

    In the speech made by former president Obama, pathos is the most evident. He addresses the people and creates a personal connection by establishing relationships with his audience. While speaking about his close friend Reverend Wright, he admits he disagrees with his values and views, Barack still has great respect for him. It does not matter to Obama what Wright believes, but instead he respects his opinions and uses them to shape his own political views. Reverend Wright has helped shape Obama into the man he is today and he would not be the same leader he is today without his knowledge.

  13. faithw

    Aristotle teaches us that “Rhetoric is the art of discerning in any given situation, the available means of persuasion.” He suggests that there are three parts to making a persuasive argument: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
    Ethos refers to credibility and trust, pathos targets emotions and values, and logos is the use of logic, reasoning, and proof. All three techniques were used by Atticus Finch in his closing statements during the Tom Robinson trial as well as by then Senator and Presidential candidate, Barack Obama in his speech, “A More Perfect Union”. Both speakers are trying to convince their audience that racism and discrimination must be terminated for complete equality. Both asked their audiences to judge people by their qualities and not by their race.

    Atticus uses ethos to try and prove Tom Robinson’s innocence by recognizing the credibility and equality of the courts: “Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal” (275).

    Atticus employs pathos when he spoke about Mayella and her pitiful situation. “I have nothing but pity in my heart for the Chief Witness for the State” (p.271). Additionally, he pleads of the jury, “In the name of G-d, do your duty … In the name of G-d, believe him.” (p.275) He tries to appeal to their values and their religious sense and to convince them to do the right thing.

    Atticus uses logos when presenting facts about the case. “The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence.” He also relays that Mayella was beaten by a left-handed person, as Mr, Ewell is. He adds, “…and Tom Robinson now sits before you, having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesses – his right hand…” (p.273) Furthermore, “Testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called under serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant” (p.271). Atticus is persuading the jury of Tom Robinson’s innocence by stating that there is no evidence to convict him and no reliable witnesses against him.

    Similar to Atticus, Obama makes a persuasive argument. He uses ethos by referring to his candidacy as “imperfect”. His honesty and acceptance of being imperfect makes people connect with him. Obama uses his background to connect with the topic of race and discrimination and this gives the listener a sense of legitimacy. Lastly, he states, “I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.” Obama here tries to convince America that he cares about the nation and wants to have an impact on it.

    Obama uses pathos by speaking of all those whose attempts to reach the American Dream were thwarted by discrimination. “But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.” Obama also tells the story of Ashley Baia, who as a child convinced her mother that she wanted to eat mustard and relish sandwiches every day for a year, all so that it would be cheaper since her mother lost her job because she had cancer. This story gets the listener to sympathize with Ashley and want to follow Obama’s plan for the country to work together and improve.

    Obama also uses facts to effectively persuade his audience. He refers to the constitution and how it promises equality for all. Nonetheless, he speaks about how racism has been a common thread in our nation since its beginning. He describes how discrimination has affected many generations of minorities; “Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between Americans black and white students.” These are unfortunately societal truths.

  14. marinas1

    In his speech, “A More Perfect Union”, former president Barak Obama preached his ideas on racial injustice and equality (or lack thereof). In his speech, he used all three rehetorical styles: ethos, logos, and pathos. These rehetorical styles were created by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. According to this philosopher, ethos is the credibility the speaker or persuader encapsulates. Logos is an appeal of logic, and is a way of persuading your audience through reason. Lastly, pathos is an appeal to emotion.

    Ethos is certaintly applicable in Barak Obama’s speech. Towards the beginning of his speech, Barak clearly states “‘I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America…'” Just from this, the audience can assume he is a talented thinker and speaker, and will definitely think that the next words to come out of his mouth are sure to be credible. In the same paragraph, Obama mandates “‘ I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I… lived in one of the worlds poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners… I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue.'” Clearly, his mixed-racial family is quite expanded unified, regardless of the color of their skin. If anyone were to know anything about different views and biases between whites and blacks (which coincidentally happens to be the topic of this speech), Barak Obama would certaintly be the one.

    Barak Obama also uses logos in his speech. In fact, he starts off his speech by quoting the first sentence of the constitution. He goes on to say “‘Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across and ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence…'” It’s no coincidence that Barak uses this sentence in the first paragraph, for he wanted to show that varying people, regardless of job capability, gathered to create the Constitution, one of the most (if not the most) valued document in all of American history. That in of itself is “a perfect union”, as our former president would say. Deeper into the speech, Barak Obama quotes William Faulkner, a renown writer who was a Nobel prize winner. Barak goes on to talk about “‘…the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.'” , a form of racial segregation in the southern United States, which continued until 1965. In the next sentence, Barak decalares “‘Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools: we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education…'” All in all, his factual mandates certaintly must have enthralled the audience even more.

    Barak Obama used pathos quite often during his speech. One example of this is when Barak tells the story of Ashley Baia at the end of his speech. He says “‘There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley via who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina… Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy… The reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to keep their parents too.'” This evidently brings out emotion in the audience. This poor girl had nearly lost her mother, while also living on scraps of food in the process. In spite of this, she wants to help other kids that are in the same situation she had once been in herself. This evokes emotion, for all one can simply think during this story is that the least they can do for America and these poor kids is help.

    The ideas in Barak Obama’s speech “A More Perfect Union” are evident in Atticus’s summation as well. In Atticus’s summation, Atticus talks about how although everyone is not born equally in comparison to one another, no one should feel the need to bestow prejudice on someone else, even if they are not as privileged or more privileged than you. He pronounces “‘We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe-some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money then others, some ladies make better cakes than others- some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men… A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up. I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard… In the name of God, do your duty.'” (pp.274-275) Just like how Atticus talks about being kind and fair to others over using feelings of inequality as an excuse to hurt others, Obama also talks about how some may feel less than or not as important than others. Despite this, those people should still not feel the need to feel prejudice towards others. That will only further seperate the whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, men and women from one another, which can do absolutely no good for our country today.

  15. George

    The speech that was assigned to us to read is mainly about former president Obama’s reasons for running. He talks about his heritage and his experiences. He denounces Reverend Wright’s veiws and then explains why he does not abandon his church. He goes on to build upon why the country needs to focus on mending the wrongs of the past because if we don’t we will only deepen the lines that separate this country.
    I would like to analyze the meaning of “A More Perfect Union”. I believe it means that the country is held together well however there is underlying problems that threaten the future of this great country. The country is together but because of racism and prejudice we were never truly together, and now we are closer together then ever we can work to repair the wrongs of the past. He wants the country to learn from the past and come together

  16. kat

    First I have to say that this speech is incredible. Before he was our president Barack Obama was a senator. Throughout his career Obama has been an amazing speaker. I love how Obama in this speech connects present times to the founding of our nation. I also noticed how Obama talks about his ongoing election. He talks about his own race and the race of his family. Throughout this speech Obama embraces many beliefs and advocates acceptance. However he does not just say acceptance. He addresses problems in our country like racism, health care, and hate in our nation. Obama uses his background in this speech. He wants to show that he is carrying his background with him to bring his knowledge to try and help Americas future. In almost all great speeches rhetoric is used. In this speech Obama uses rhetoric is used to help us understand what state he see that the country is in, his beliefs, what he sees as the major issues in poor country and what he wants for the future of our country. Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle is a connection between the speaker, the audience, and the context. The context at this point is the election, the statements made by Reverend Wright, discrimination, and unrest. Obama connects to his audience and really addresses specific details. Obama points out the anger in our world. In our houses, our churches, and our everyday life. Obama does not attack any group. He does not blame anyone in particular, but he blames anger. He points out the truth. Anger, resentment, and hate is what was and still is wrong with our country. This speech is amazing because it uses Aristotle’s triangle to prove his point and attempts to show us where we are with our country as a whole, and where we are with our country divided.

    In my blog tonight I tried not to be biased, but I can tell that my opinion on Obama here is fairly clear. I do not mean to offend anyone, I am merely stating my opinion. I respect if anyone has a different opinion but keep my beliefs the same.

  17. Esha Pandya

    In the speech “A More Perfect Union”, given by Barack Obama, shows the idea of racism and equality as seen in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. While giving the speech, he used the three rhetorical forms to help make his point: logos, ethos, and pathos. The Greek philosopher Aristotle saw these three forms to be the most important when making a point. It is important to show the audience that you can be trusted and have the credibility to give true information (ethos), you have logic and reasoning behind your point (logos), and you affect the audience emotionally through personal connections that can be related to the topic (pathos). Barack Obama’s speech relates directly to Atticus’s summation in To Kill A Mockingbird.

    Throughout his speech, Barack Obama uses logos to express his thoughts. The beginning of the speech has a brief description of the Declaration of Independence when it was being written. How it was believed that the country could overcome the idea of racism with the words, “We the people…”, which includes all people. He explains the significance of these three words by saying that America came together in independence and democracy. With the intention in mind, it seems logical that racism would end.  However, Obama goes on to say that slavery was still a problem until the 20th century. He uses the logic that saying every person was equal on a document does not necessarily make it true. What we hope to achieve for future generations has to be worked for, it can’t just happen after signing a document. Barack Obama reasons that achieving equality can help to unite America as a country. “…racially charged at the time we need to come together…two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis…” Had racism and equality not have been a problem, the events occurring presently would not have taken place. He uses logic by giving example of the events that happen due to racism and equality.

    While reading the speech, Barack Obama gives several examples of ethos, or credibility. Towards the beginning, he says, “I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America…” From this, one can tell that Obama is intelligent and can be trusted for the information he says. Going to the best schools ensures that he knows how to give a speech allowing him to make his point clear without going on for an extreme amount of time. At the end of his speech, Obama tells a story about a girl name Ashley, which several people also have heard. He can be given credibility for the story because it is one that has been heard by other people, not just him. Obama uses it to give an example of how racism and inequality can be solved by taking small steps.

    It is clear to see that Obama uses pathos to help convey his thoughts and ideas. Barack Obama states that those of different race have to accept that the thoughts of others are not the problem, it is our own state of mind. We think something of another group of people, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. He says that by acknowledging this, it can help realize dreams. “It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams:that investing in health, welfare…will ultimately help all of America prosper.” He uses pathos here by including the American dream as a goal. Everyone has one, but because of racism and inequality, they might become true. We have to take part in every issue to help our dreams become success. The American dream is something that drives people to keep going.

    While reading To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus’s summation of the trial can be directly related to Barack Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union”. In his summation, Atticus goes in depth on how some people feel they are superior to others due to their race. It is said that all men are created equal, but there is still racism, making one group superior over another. The inferior group, in this case the African Americans, are subjected to follow the orders of white men and women. They are seen as under them in the social hierarchy. In Tom’s case, he has respect for Mayella, which is why he follows her orders and completes tasks for her. He would never do anything he wasn’t told to do if it was against society rules. Similarly, Obama mentions Reverend Wright as someone who has respect towards white men. Although he may have his own opinions, Wright is respectful and courteous towards those who are deemed to be superior to him. Obama states how he has always had the mindset to respect others for several years, not just for a short period of time.

  18. willowm

    The speeches by then Senator Obama and Atticus both revolved around the theme of racial injustice. I think that both speeches incorporated all three aspects of the rhetorical triangle, but I found one most obvious in each of their speeches. Obama used pathos by speaking about personal relationships he made throughout the campaign, and further discussed the ones with his family and reverend. Obama also spoke about the problems with the racial divide in the U.S. He and Atticus both spoke passionately to their audiences. Atticus used logos by establishing facts that contradicted his opponent’s statement and connected the dots for the jury. He then explained the sequence of events and how race played a major role in the trial.

  19. margauxc

    Aristotle’s triangle of rhetorical appeals happens to be an equilateral triangle- which conveys a necessity of balance. Senator Obama, in his address, “A More Perfect Union”, expertly relies on and successfully balances every rhetorical appeal in his speech with care and precision- each element gradual, yet elegant.
    The rhetorical use of ethos refers to the appeal of ethics, which Obama touches upon numerous times within his speech. In order to perfect our union, not only should our cultures be diverse, but our virtues as well. Obama states, “It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and the education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.” The first step we, as a nation, could take to perfect our union, would be acknowledging the problem at hand instead of believing it has already past. Through sharing his past experiences, Obama not only establishes credibility- but his statement, which emphasizes the necessity for unity and his deep analysis and understanding of the subject, assure those who received the speech that Obama’s words are to be taken seriously, establishing credibility.
    Pathos is used several times throughout the speech, but is primarily utilized when Obama references and mentions the social injustice evident in our nation. Injustice which should not- and cannot go unnoticed is primarily emphasized and the ignorance of the American people comes into play. How can we truly hold one group responsible for picking up the pieces that the white community had laid out in the beginning of our nation? In order to correct the monstrosities committed, we must identify the monster directly, and together.
    Logos is used occasionally throughout the speech. However, it is not as heavily relied upon as ethos and pathos.
    In “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch relies primarily on pathos as well. He emphasizes the necessity of balance in the town of Maycomb and how one race cannot possibly be, in any way, more moral. In the courthouse, equity should be practiced- not prejudice. Atticus relies on the morality of the jury to come across his point, and in Jem’s eyes, this ensures an easy win.

  20. adam

    (my whole blog just deleted and now I’m mad)
    Obama’s speech was very strong and clear. He shows the opportunities and possibilities of the great country, and then shows the downsides and negatives as well, In his speech, he uses pathos and logos. He has confidence and passion during his speech, and has incredible confidence in his country. Most evidently, though, ethos is used overwhelmingly. He tells his story, and the amazing opportunities possible in America. He gives his story, against the odds. He explains the ups and downs of the country, and how we must become more united than ever and get rid of the hatred, and do what we can to help eachother in any way. He explains his chances against racism and that the country still has more work to do. He is vivid in his speech and very inspirational and motivational. Then, I came to think… is Atticus, Barack Obama? Well, not exactly, but their thoughts and intentions are similar. They both are opposed to racism and believe everybody could do better. Obama’s speech was vivid and passionate.

  21. alekhya

    In his speech “A More Perfect Union” then Senator Barack Obama uses ethos, logos and pathos to connect with his audience, quite similar to Atticus’s words at the trial of Tom Robinson.

    Barack Obama first uses logos by connecting the creation of the constitution and the world today, to explain to his audience how racism was not what the founding fathers had wanted in their descendants, but equality amongst all men. Similary Atticus uses small details such as which side of Mayella’s face was hurt to show how logical it is that it was not Tom Robinson but Mr Ewell, a left handed man, who beat up Mayella.

    Barack Obama also uses pathos to get his audience to feel with him, to understand the pain of being discriminated. He uses the story of Ashley a girl who fasted to ease her mother’s workload to get the audience to tear up and soften their hearts so that his message would get through to them. Similarly Atticus ask Tom Robinson questions about his family to get the audience yo understand that Tom Robinson too is a person with his family to worry about and take care of.

    Barack Obama also uses ethos when he says that he has attended some of the best schools in the nation, to get the audience to believe that he is credible. Atticus similary portrays himself as a simple man to the court, rather than an intimidating lawyer to get them to believe he isnt cheating them with fancy words.

  22. ivanl

    In Barack Obama’s speech. “A More Perfect Union,” Obama most evidently uses pathos. Atticus, in the defense for Tom Robinson, uses more logos. Obama is very passionate in his speech, and speaks very confidently, his words slow and steady, yet strong. Obama gives his story, and explains the hardships he had to endure, once again having the audience, “feel” with him. When he speaks about racism, he has a very strong feeling about it, being black himself, and once again using pathos, conveys his feelings about racism towards them. Atticus does not utilize pathos so much; being a lawyer requires more of the cold, hard facts. Atticus uses mostly logos, and it is very evident throughout Tom Robinson’s trial. Atticus explains things very factually, Bob Ewell’s background, the logic behind the bruises on Mayella’s face, and also uses what Heck Tate has to say. Atticus basically wins the case using logos, but since Tom is black, the logos isn’t enough, and racism gets the best of Maycomb County, a recurring theme of the novel.

  23. Rebecca F

    In his speech, “A More Perfect Union”, Barack Obama uses ethos, logos, and pathos to help make his point clear and to reach the people listening to his speech. Atticus does the same in his summation at court, in an effort to get the jury to believe Tom Robinson.
    When speaking, Obama mentions the creation of the constitution, and mentions exact phrases used, such as “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union,”. Obama also states the intentions of the founding fathers in writing these words.
    Atticus uses logos in court as well, by bringing attention to the fact that Bob Ewell was left handed, and that Tom Robinson had a shriveled right hand. He also points out discrepancies in the testimonies of Bob and Mayella Ewell, making apparent the fact that no one ran for a doctor.
    Regarding ethos, Obama’s position as a senator adds to his credibility. T

    1. Rebecca F

      The fact that he attended prestigious schools such as Harvard, add to his credibility as well.
      Atticus’s status as a lawyer, and a well educated and respected man adds to his credibility as well. Although he may “aim to defend” Tom Robinson, Atticus’s reasoning and prowess as a lawyer cannot be denied.
      The last aspect of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle is pathos. Obama’s retelling of the story of Ashley is an appeal to pathos. He tries to get the audience to understand Ashley’s story; he tries to stir up sympathy and empathy.
      Similarly, in his summation, Atticus appeals to the humanity of the jurors. He loosens his tie and unbuttons his vest, and when he speaks, Scout and Jem are jarred for it sounds as though he had just said scout. Atticus drops his lawyer’s mask and doesn’t use his “arid” voice when he speaks. He speaks to the jury as a man, pleading with the jury to believe the truth. As he says, “In the name of God, believe him”.

  24. laurena2

    In Obama’s speech, pathos is most evident. He uses pathos to make his claim very strong, and make all listeners feel emotionally moved. By talking about the problems he had to overcome, he makes the crowd feel as if he endured them with him. In Atticus’ speech he uses mostly logos (because he is a lawyer). He constantly asks the judge to make the right decision, despite what the judge wants to do. Obama’s goal was to inform, Atticus’ goal was to persuade.

  25. cameronl3

    In the speech made by the previous president, Barack Obama, pathos is the most evident. He addresses the people and creates a personal connection by establishing relationships with his audience. While speaking about his close friend Reverend Wright, he admits he disagrees with his values and views, Barack still has great respect for him. It does not matter to Obama what Wright believes, but instead he respects his opinions and uses them to shape his own political views. Reverend Wright has helped shape Obama into the man he is today and he would not be the same leader he is today without his knowledge.


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