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Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” Speech Reaction Paper
In his speech, President Jimmy Carter addresses many issues facing the U.S. but focuses on what he believes to be the biggest crisis – the crisis of confidence. By using terms that appeal to the patriotism of the American people, addressing his and the government’s faults and presenting his ideas and views in a way that is logical and understandable, he is quite persuasive in bringing across his message.
Carter begins by first acknowledging himself and the promises he’d made and reiterates them. By doing this, he is indirectly giving reassurance to the general public by letting them know that he remembers his promises. He makes a consistent point to talk about togetherness and patriotism, both of which are ideas that appeal to the public, especially in light of the Vietnam War. He talks directly to the people, and by doing that, he personalizes his speech. He also talks about close-knit communities, family, church, and condemns consumption. He puts emotionally appealing aspects of American life at the forefront so that people are more likely to understand, respect, but most importantly, resonate with him.
The use of terms such as “loss of unity and purpose” also play in Carter’s favor as they invoke feelings of urgency, causing people to think about the way they are leading their lives. He further uses facts to enhance this urgency by stating that 2/3 of the country’s population don’t even vote.
Carter also makes a point to list the accomplishments of the generation and government, such as the movement towards equality with MLK, landing on the moon, etc. In all this, he constantly builds up his own credibility by talking about how he proposed ideas to Congress to benefit the country and how he made certain attempts “for the 5th time”.
Carter utilizes emotional and logical arguments and implicitly builds up his own credibility throughout his speech, even just by the way he looks at the camera, which all contribute to him giving a successfully persuasive speech.