University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
John F Kennedy’s Rice Stadium Moon Speech Analysis
Since the industrial revolution, countries have been competing against each other to see who is the most advanced in medicine, technology, and education.In 1957, Russia successfully launched the first artificial satellite, this had started the space age and the United States of America and the U.S.S.R. space race. President John F Kennedy delivered the Rice stadium moon speech in hopes of persuading the American people to support NASA’s intention to send a space craft to the moon. Kennedy attempts to do this by the use of syntax and ethos.
Kennedy begins by trying to establish credibility with his student audience by the use of ethos. Kennedy is made an “honorary visiting professor” and states that his “first lecture will be very brief”. By putting himself into the position of a professor, he tries to convey to his student audience that he will teach them something important and to open their minds to him. He then lists how humans have advanced learning to “use skins of animals to cover them” to developing “penicillin…television and nuclear power”. By listing these advancements in mankind, Kennedy shows the audience his knowledge and gives them another reason to trust what he is saying. In gaining the audiences trust, Kennedy can easily persuade them to support NASA’s intentions of sending an aircraft to the moon.
The word choice and sentence structure Kennedy uses to deliver his speech helps to persuade American citizens to support NASA’s intentions. Kennedy uses phrases such as “10,000 automobiles…as tall as a 48 story structure… [and] as wide as a city block”. He uses lament terms to appeal to the commons man’s ballpark figure of everyday lengths and power. With better understanding of what Kennedy is saying, his student audience can support NASA with their acquired knowledge. He then states how his surroundings are “noted for” knowledge, progress, and strength. By his word choice he helps to instill a sense of pride for the homeland. This promotes nationalism among the audience and their desire for their country to be helpful.