FDR’s First Inaugural Address

Progressive Elements: favoring progress, change, improvements, going forward, passing from one member of a series to the next. 

  • Quotes:
    • “This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.”
      • Progression of USA away from the Great Depression
    • “Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit…”
      • Progression of the American citizens beliefs from one idea to another
    • “There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped by merely talking about it. We must act. We must act quickly.”
      • Progression in that it signals a change from only talking about it to actually acting in ways to make it better
    • “It is the way to recovery.”
      • His ideas are progression for the country in themselves.
  • Progression of ideas in a chronological way… FDR first presents the issue, then how/why it happened, then discusses solutions for the future

Repetitive Elements: doing, saying, or writing something again; reiteration

  • Word “failure” is repeated a lot at the beginning mostly – emphasis on the current conditions and how bad they are, thus helping to prove the importance of moving away from this through his solutions
  • In one paragraph “It can be helped…” is repeated several times, reassuring the audience that this issue will not remain around forever and that there is hope for the future
  • “My friends” is how he constantly addresses the audience, pressing it into their minds that”we are all in this together” and that they have a familiarity with each other
FDR’s First Inaugural Address

Rhetorical Fallacies

Rhetorical Fallacies: “Logically illegitimate argumentative moves that a critical thinker should reject.”

Example One: Ad Hominem (irrelevant attack on person instead of on the argument itself) FullSizeRender.jpg

Here, Donald Trump is attacking Mort Zuckerman. We do not know his argument against the New York Daily News, all he is saying is an attack on Zuckerman rather than on his argument to why the paper is bad.

Example Two: Bandwagon (arguing for an idea on the grounds that a large number of people agrees) FullSizeRender copy.jpg

This implies that because 18 million Americans have gained coverage, everyone wants Obamacare, when that is not the case.


Rhetorical Fallacies

FDR’s First Inaugural Address: Paper #1 Proposal


For this first paper I would like to write about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address, which took place on March 4, 1933. Unique to Franklin Roosevelt, was that his presidency began amidst the depths of the depression. The Great Depression had been going on for three years prior to this. His previous speeches were generally optimistic and vague, but this speech in particular took an understandably gloomy tone. Here he outlines openly his main ideas about how to govern during this time, preparing The United States for governmental growth.

I believe this to be a good speech for this paper because it is directly related to the historical context of the time. The Great Depression was an important, but sad, time period for The United States that I have not previously learned much about. Since the Great Depression was a huge topic during Roosevelt’s very first speech as president, it is something that must have been very prominent at the time. Secondly, the speech is long enough to give me enough information to work with and truly delve into. The very famous quote in this speech, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” adds to the popularity of the speech, even today. It is a quote many have heard, but not many have read the entire speech. Another important detail of this speech is that it’s pointing to the fact that the depression is made up of only material things, which will be interesting to look into. Finally, I would like to find out what America’s general reaction to this speech was, both Democrats and Republicans.


Researched Sources:

FDR’s First Inaugural Address: Paper #1 Proposal

President John F. Kennedy’s Rice Stadium Moon Speech

Paragraphs that resonate most strongly with the audience are indicated by applause and the length/loudness of the applause (numbered as the paragraphs are set up given to us in the handout):

  • Paragraph 9: after he says “…this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.”
  • Paragraph 11: after he says “…no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.”
  • Paragraph 15: “But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this a our goal?….Why does Rice play Texas?”
    • Laughs in addition to claps
  • Paragraph 16: “We choose to go to the moon… one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
    • Louder clapping than before 
  • Paragraph 19: “…far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.”
  • Paragraph 22: “We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit to them. And they may be less public.”
  • Paragraph 25: “What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space.”
  • Paragraph 26: “…less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year.”
  • Paragraph 27:
    • “…almost as hot as it is here today…” 
      • Laughing 
    • “… and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out– then we must be bold.” 
      • Loud clapping
    • This paragraph seems to resonate most strongly with the audience because they both laugh and then clap for longer and it is louder than before 
    • I think this is so because he describes how impressive it would be to be the first ones to put a man on the moon– and people love this idea 
  • Paragraph 30: “I am delighted…United States of America.”
  • Paragraph 32: “Well, space is there… greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”
    • Last paragraph: standing ovation and loud clapping for the close
President John F. Kennedy’s Rice Stadium Moon Speech