In Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech there are many forms of rhetoric embedded. Some of those included are pathos. He uses these to convince his audience of what to do in regards to the current energy crisis.
In trying to affect the emotions of the citizens, the first thing Carter does is shaming and guilting the audience into thinking that the main cause of the energy crisis is the people’s fault and the people’s fault alone.
He states the problem with America, chalking it up to be a lack of confidence and such stemming from a materialistic and unproductive lifestyle lived by the citizens of America.
This can be seen when Carter says “… in a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.” He talks about the people straying away from the principles they once had such as being proud of hard work and switching to worshiping negative actions such as “self-indulgence”.
He keeps on with this theme as he proceeds to name some of the behaviors he doesn’t necessarily like by saying “… the productivity of American workers is actually dropping…[and] has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.” Ever heard of a compliment sandwich? Carter kind of takes the steps out of order but as soon as he’s finished berating the American population, he begins to switch the tone of his words from a scolding father to a determined coach.
He starts to enforce that “we”, the American population, are one and can do anything when we come together. This can be seen when Carter says “We know the strength of America. We are strong. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence.” You would think that because he used the motivational tone last that would be the one people remembered but it seemed quite the opposite. It doesn’t matter if 100 nice things are said, the one harsh criticism is the thing that sticks with you, and that’s what happened with the American people. They were angry at President Carter for making them feel this way which had a big impact on the public opinion of the speech.