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Style and Rhetoric: A Comparison

Presidential speeches both speak of a given political moment and stand out as a genre of its kind with pompous and almost sacred status that distinguishes them from the rest of political addresses.

President Barack Obama

President Obama’s speeches stand in comparison to his predecessors who were astonishing and very great orators. In his recent inaugural speech, he threw in oratory blows by the use of anaphora as rhetorical device.  Poetic speeches during his presidential campaign and the night of the elections are some devices that have helped him stand out as a lecturer.

Adaptation of a biblical rhetoric style, Obama indoctrinated people to prose biblically, attracting attention to emotional reasoning and persuasion as a format. Higher logic is exempted in the argument making it precisely simple and pure. He lets the audience sense the gaps for themselves when he says, “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals”. Obama fails to take the crowd to his mind location and rather from a meditative bead to the next and calls the attendees to contemplate. This is very powerful because he lets the people chose what they could believe and this has proven to be a success.

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Paratactic dominance in his speeches makes it more perspective than political giving the impression of a sensitive yet lost individual wandering to find a specific theme that allows him to fuse different stanzas by means of overpowering vision into intelligibility and religious unity. Obama openly and truthfully uses contradiction of local phrases and representational images that appeals to the people’s faith.

The theme of his speech revolved around the freedom and a hope that is expected by all Americans. This theme recurs in the whole remark repeatedly drawing instances from past background as a theme support just to mention the least. He strongly urges his fellow compatriots to go back to their former cultural values

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He applied metaphors in his talks while reminding the crowd about previous inauguration that took place during “still water periods” and at “raging storms”. He mentioned the “long rugged path” meaning the long way that the American people had come to gain independence and prosperity. He used parallel structure as depicted in several phrases like “our capacity remains undiminished”

To select the country’s best concepts of worth, he put antithesis device by uttering the fact that American economy does not depend only on the “domestic products but on the prosperity reach.” In his call to the nation to put aside “childish act”, he employed allusion as oratory devices. Obama has perfected the art of using appropriate body language to express a point and keeping a perfect eye contact with the listeners. Obama’s speech is currently receiving a loving and fun learning because of its paratactic prose style.

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President Abraham Lincoln

The Gettysburg Address is considered critical time terms of how America looked at themselves and the government. In his speech, Lincoln put emphasis on the final part by terming the government as one of the people, by the people and for the people a clear interpretation of the community and the government. So many people had talked of ending bondage but none talked of equality, so he pointed political thinking in America to his elucidation of the Independence Declaration against the Constitution.

Deviating his speech style from Everett his predecessor, Lincoln used flowery and antiquated phrases with simple and plain English. This speech was his conception of simplicity and Eloquency making the address to be seen by many as a masterpiece of discourse in politics. He wrote his speech for the large gathering at Gettysburg and to date almost every person in America can refer to him as a prime agent of his plot. He told his story well and in pure style. He was not a lush expressionist but efficient and none pretentious.

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In the Gettysburg speech, he applied biblical oratory by talking of “fourscore and seven years ago” meaning human life span in the bible. Trusted sources had independently observed that he was fond of reading the bible. At Gettysburg he applied this cadence as well as retrieving words from the bible that he felt marched the solemnity of the moment. However, he never quoted anything straight from the bible his speech was flooded through biblical content and melody.

Harmonic configuration and content of his opening speech “four score” was a rhythmic release and meaningful Alteration in tone of his voice. He brushed his text properly and followed it by an emphatic delivery.  The first part of the body of his speech he applied several Perfect Parallel when he talked of “that nation conceived” and “any nation so dedicated”. By repeating focal words like “great civil war,” “so dedicated, ““great battle field” and “come to dedicate” he built the subject of his political resoluteness while speaking of separate previous dimension. Lincoln use of the anaphora lecture device aided him to underscore his oratory goal despite the warning he received from Wills to only give precise but appropriate address. In the last paragraph, the use of repetition causing oratory effect of talking repeatedly of the accountability of the people.

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He was very aware of the vast audience that he was about to address and lay bare his intentions. He was announcing his determination of speaking to a vast subject. Lincoln words “But in a larger sense” he was giving the listeners a clue that he was about to enlarge a constant equation that day. “It is altogether right that we must do this. But in larger perspective, we cannot….”

Lincoln used speech figures like Litotes to express an affirmative by negating the opposite. Because of his logical thinking, he started this argument from a negative point, sounding like a barrister in a trial chamber defending a suspect. Putting down the opposite parts first to prepare the listeners to agree with his calling forth of what every individual in the audience could do. The parallel clauses put emphasis on current distance “this ground”. He used Hypophora, to control his ideas and the flow of the arguments. Using exaggerated antithesis, he differentiated the brave gentlemen with “our lacking power” still on the same breath he mentioned “living and dead” at the start of the stanza and “add or detract” at the tail of the line, striking out a parallelism. In the last lines, he shifts lenses to the end time.  He applies another antithesis by contrasting “they did and we say”.

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Theme is one very important factor in the Lincoln Gettysburg remarks, though short, the speech is still remembered to date. This was the time that soldier had lost their lives because of the civil war and a pathetic speech was expected from the president but he was short and to the point. He talked of equality and prophesized that they would come a time when all people will realize that all human being were created equally by God 

Metaphorical and existing only in his imagination his fund for metaphors and similes could not be consumed entirely. He effortlessly drew comparison to bring about clarity and distinctness to his logics and arguments.

Using Metaphoric phrase, he talks of their fathers bringing forth a new nation on the continent, “conceived in freedom” and the preposition that all men are equal” that the state lives and the born child, that is the nation is still young but growing, getting experience and in dire need of protection. When he mentions “the battle ground “he means, the injustice brought about by the lack of liberty that has been in America since Independence. He employed imagery language in his work naturally, his mind holding tight to every instrument of clear and bright expression. Lincoln composed his address without the assistance of speech advisors attaching his name to every word.

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Edward Everett

Ability to speak eloquently even though he lacked occupational qualification was the uttermost theme all through Everett lifespan. He understood perfectly the difference between the analyses of genre and their categories that is the forensic, deliberative and epideictic. He knew the kind of a speech to use “where and for what people”. His speech lasted for two hours reflecting on the set standard by nineteenth century lecture culture that was more of a combination of all the types of rhetoric.

Everett arguably one of the best orators that ever lived, his sentimental way of oratory was characterized by information that constructed an individual’s response. This style pleads emotional answers, defines and demarcates control over consciousness. This is not pathetic or feelings rhetoric but a persuasive type of oratory. He avoided using metaphors but still applied in some instances like when he said “consciousness fighting in a righteous”

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The use of antithesis when he said of that victory belonged not to people who deserved but those that have decided to triumph. Perfect parallel was another device he used when he talked about “the time coming” and “now is the time”. Using litotes, he appeals to the state one pride asking the disdain from the North.


President Obama and Abraham Lincoln though they lived decades apart had almost one thing in mind. The former president talked of equality among all people, he believed that all human beings were created equal by God and no one should be above the other. His short speech is remembered to date because of the impact it had on the society.

Obama talked of freedom where Muslims and Christians lived together in harmony without anyone feeling superior to the other. His speech will be remembered for times to come partly because he is the first Black man to get in to white house and partly because it was a great piece of literature. Everett invited people to a conscious fight in righteousness and his speech was more of getting revenge than uniting people.











    All in all it cannot be emphasised the proper use of language by the three speakers to reach their target audience. The uses of rhetorical devices just prove how great orators they were and still are.

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