Rhetorical Analysis Of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Speech We Shall Overcome

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Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States after the assasination of President John F. Kennedy, was born on August 27, 1908 in central Texas, close to Johnson City, which his family helped settle. He Attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College, and taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students of Mexican descent at the Welhausen School. During his career as a teacher he experienced the great discrimination and poverty of the small town. Soon after, he married in 1934, campaigned for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, was elected to the Senate in 1948, served as JFKs vice president, and on November 22, 1963 he became president of the United States. Lyndon B. Johnson’s speech “We Shall Overcome” addressed the problem of discrimination, our voting rights as Americans, and his plans to stop voting discrimination. 

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President Johnson begins his speech by addressing all America to join him in a common effort to change America, and completely eliminate descrimination. The week before the speech was given, a peaceful protest was organized in Selma, Alabama by a group African Americans to fight against the denial of their voting rights, but they were brutally assaulted, and one killed, by fellow Americans with the only motive behind their actions was an opposite opinion. President Johnson then explains that we are all involved in the issue of this discrimination together as Americans. He says that if we can defeat every enemy, double our wealth, and conquer the stars, but not solve this problem of discrimination, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. He points to the Constitution in his speech and how it states that all Americans are created equal and how the words of the Constitution are not just empty theories, but rather the message that millions of Americans have fought and died for, for over two centuries. 

President Johnson uses very good technique when delivering his speech. He uses excellent inflection, with highs and lows that draws attention to his voice so easily. He maintains good eye contact with the large audience, and a serious face that helps to assist in delivering the serious message. His facial expression and inflection show confidence in a situation where most people who are not used to public speaking would become paralyzed with stage fright. His voice is appropriate and stays at a good volume as he projects it into the microphone. He uses a clear and simple language so the entire audience can understand his message, and at the time the language he used did not contain any negative connotations. With his inflection, volume, confidence, and language, the methods he uses to deliver his speech is excellent. 

President Johnson delivers his message of the problem of discrimination, our voting rights as Americans, and his plans to stop voting discrimination accurately with his techniques used in his speech “We Shall Overcome”. As president of the United States, you are expected to come off as a positive, and confident leader that people can trust, and with his views, President Johnson does just that. His contribution to the rights that were denied to so many African Americans in this time, im am sure will not go unnoticed as his words can and will continue to spark inspiration in the hearts of many Americans and people all over the world. 

10 Jun 2021

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