Forms of appeal

Forms of appeal are rhetorical strategies used by Barack Obama to obtain a favorable reaction to his arguments from the audience. His 2008 victory speech is characterized by intensive use of ethos. Nevertheless, there are also a few instances of pathos and logos that you can discuss.



The speaker appeals to reason when he mentions facts that support his views, or when he includes logical arguments. For example, he gives factual examples to support the idea that the US is going through challenging times: “we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime –  two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.” (ll. 73-75)

Obama also uses historical examples of worse times to make a logical argument that the US has become a better place over time:“when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.” (ll. 141-142). Obama uses these examples to show that the US has been able to change in the past and to imply that it will be able to do so again.


Obama appeals to trust and authority throughout the speech because he wants to make himself appear trustworthy, caring, and knowledgeable.

For example, he appeals to the authority of historical figures and American founding documents to draw parallel...

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