Richard Nixon's Rhetorical Analysis by Kelton Duner

Topics: Richard Nixon

UniversityAuthor NoteThis paper was written for Rhetoric and Composition, taught by Professor Thomas Kluxen. Richard Nixon Rhetorical Analysis2Speaker: Richard Nixon (1954 Checkers Speech)Audience: American people, voters, the Republican party, families, the common main characters: Richard Nixon, Patricia NixonPurpose: to get the American public back on his side, convince them he is trustworthy and didn’t have a secret fund for personal expenses, prove the only thing he’s ever taken from a supporter was a dog, increase support to win the election, increase approval ratingEmotional information.

The dog- he uses the dog a way to appeal to the audience’s emotions for animals. In an attempt to explain that he has never take any bribes, he says the only thing he’s ever taken from a supporter was a dog. They later named the dog “Checkers” and he has since become extremely attached to the family.Relatable- Nixon attempts to relate to the audience by explaining that he is just like all of them, a common man.

He explains that all his finances are very modest and show he is not rich. He uses his wife to show he is a family-oriented and trustworthy.Fear- Nixon attempts to instill fear in the audience when he stands up and starts to relatedly talk about how the U.S. is in danger become of the threat of communism spreading throughout the country.

Sympathy: Nixon want to make the audience feel a sense of sympathy for him by explaining how personal the information he is sharing to the audience is and how he knows many people do not like or respect him.

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Sensory information:Auditory: Nixon changes the tone and volume of his voice throughout the speech. Richard Nixon Rhetorical Analysis3AT the beginning of the speech when he is talking about his choice to make the speech and his family, he has a smooth, soft tone. As he starts talking about his opponents and communism he raises his voice and sharpens his tone. When he is trying to persuade the audience to vote for Eisenhower, he uses emphasis on patriotic words such as “fighting” and “American.”Visual: Nixon purposely makes the setting look like a living room to make the audience feel like he is talking out of his home; he is trying to make the speech seem personal.

He has his wife there to represent family-life and modesty. Richard Nixon Rhetorical Analysis4 Richard Nixon Rhetorical AnalysisIn 1952, the future looked bright for the Republican party in America. While anyone too left-leaning was accused of being a communist, Dwight Eisenhower was gaining a lot of popularity, as he appealed to all patriots. However, in September of 1852, New York Times published an article accusing politician Richard Nixon of using funds for personal gain. The accusation threatened to derail the whole campaign and desperately, Nixon attempted to save both his career and the campaign by giving a speech. By using a skillful amount of rhetoric and articulation, Nixon was able to successfully increase his approval rating overnight by giving his popular “Checkers” speech.  The accusations against Richard Nixon completely turned the public’s opinion of him upside down.

Many Americans believed he was untrustworthy and corrupt. People were mainly concerned about the accusations regarding the money he used from the campaign. As result, Nixon spends a majority of the time trying to convey to the audience that not only is he financially honest, but he is also just an average citizen who has the same amount of money as any other middle-class American. In the first part of his speech he mentions that, unlike his political opponent, he does not keep his wife on the payroll. By revealing this information, he is making an effort to restore the integrity he lost. He is telling us is unlike other greedy politicians and instead of putting his wife on the payroll and trying to make even more money, he would rather give a job to another person who needs one. By giving an overview of his financial history and making sure the audience knows he does not have his wife on the payroll, Nixon wants the audience to know he is financially honest and trustworthy. Not only did Nixon use his financial history to persuade the public to trust

Richard Nixon Rhetorical Analysis5him, he also attempted to relate to the public by coming across as a modest family man. At the most pivotal part of his speech, he talks about how the only thing he has ever taken from a supporter was a dog his family named “Checkers,” in which the speech was later named after. In this part of the speech, Nixon appeals to the audience’s emotion by using an animal to make his intentions seem harmless and faultless. In addition, he relates to Americans by talking about how he is not a quitter, and how his wife, who is Irish is definitely not a quitter. At the time, a majority of the American immigrants were Irish and by appealing to their nationality, Nixon hoped to make this family seem like an average middle-class American family. In order to make his appeal to the American family, Nixon purposely makes the setting look like a living room to make it seem as if he were speaking from his home.

Along with his wife silently representing him as a modest family-man, an intimate setting, and intentional delivery Nixon successfully appealed to his audience’s emotions. At the last part of his speech, Nixon used two different feelings to appeal to his audience’s emotions: fear and independence. Nixon decided to shift the mood of the speech by standing up and moving to a different section of the room. By standing up he was asserting authority over his audience and as a result, they had a higher likelihood of taking what his said seriously. He first starts by giving the audience a choice between whether or not he should stay on the Republican ticket. This gives the audience a sense of freedom. By doing this they don’t feel forced to do anything and it gives him a better chance of being liked. Then he begins to talk about how his opponents if elected, posed a threat to the security of America. He used the word “danger” repeatedly and discussed the causalities lost in war to instill fear in the audience. He reminded them of the threat communism still posed and the advised them Eisenhower is the best man to become

Richard Nixon Rhetorical Analysis6president in the current state of America. He used this tactic because fear is the best way to control a group of people. By using both of these emotions together he made the audience feel like they have the freedom to choose whether he has a political influence in their country, but also instilled fear in them with the threat of communism. Throughout Richard Nixon’s speech he used body movement, different tones in his voice, and appeal to the audience’s emotions in order to persuade the American people to change their opinions of him and vote for Eisenhower. By making himself seem financially stable and honest, relating to the audience through his family, and making the audience fear the future of America, Nixon was able to completely change the public’s approval of him. Although he was accused of being a corrupt and greedy politician, by using a persuasive speech Richard Nixon was able to win over the American people and later secure a vote for vice presidency and presidency.

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Richard Nixon's Rhetorical Analysis by Kelton Duner. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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