Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Rhetorical Contributions Alexis Ginsberg
Background Information DOB: January 30, 1882 Place of Birth: Hyde Park, NY Education: -Groton School (NY) -Harvard University -Columbia Law School Family: Married Eleanor Roosevelt and had 5 children. Political Affiliation: Democrat U.S President (1933-1945)
FDR’S Rhetorical Techniques Persuasive Delivery Connected directly with his audiences Conveyed sincerity & goodwill to his audiences Gestures Spoke over the Congress to the people
FDR’S Rhetorical Innovations Frequent use of radio Motion Picture Newsreels White House Press Conferences LIVE Fireside Chats “Annual Messages” to Congress LIVE Convention Acceptance Speech
1932 Convention Acceptance Speech “Let it be from now on the task of our party to break foolish traditions. We will break foolish traditions and leave it to the Republican leadership, far more skilled in that art, to break promises.” -FDR
Rhetorical Importance of Speech Presence at the convention was symbolic Broke with party tradition Foreshadowed his future rhetorical innovations Focused on his opponent’s unpopular policies Emphasized partisan differences between the two parties Identified himself with past presidents
1933 Inaugural Speech “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Rhetorical Significance Persuasiveness Emphasis on personal leadership -”They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.” Acknowledgment of dire problems - ”Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.” Promise for government action Ubiquitous references to Congress - ”I shall presently urge upon a new Congress, detailed measures for their fulfillment…”
Reasons for Success LIVE Announced prior broadcast Interrupted daily programming Absence of media & congressional censorship. “Going public.” Reach out to new constituencies
Rhetorical Techniques “Friend-next door” Psychological focus Public Opinion Surveys “Catching Up” time Personal Pronoun Use -“I” -“You” -“We” Slow speaker
The War Years 1936: Isolationist Rhetoric 1937: Recognizes prospect of war and calls for “quarantine” of aggressors. 1940-1941: Salesman-in-Chief of War Rhetoric
War Message: Rhetorical Significance “A day which will live in infamy.” FDR's response galvanized the American people. Direct with declarative phrases. Uncluttered by convoluted language. United the nation in the pursuit of unconditional victory against the Japanese.
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