Yes We Can | Analysis

In 2009 Barack Obama, the United States 44th president delivered his most famous speech.

Following his victory in the 2008 United States presidential election, he gave his victory speech at Grant Park in his home city of Chicago. The speech was named “Yes We Can”:


Analysis and interpretation

A speaker may aim to inspire or to motivate, to amuse, to inform or to persuade. By examining the impact of rhetorical structure and devices in Obama's speech "Yes We Can" we can get an idea of his intentions.

"Yes we can" is the most common phrase in Obama's speech. It is also the title of his speech and his campaign slogan.

By saying "Yes we can" he appeals to the people using pathos. Appealing to the audience’s emotions, using emotional language, sensory images, and anecdotes, is a common strategy in politics.

The use of the rhetorical structure, logos, can be found in Obama's speech. Logos is the appeal to logic, which is a way of persuading an audience with reason, using facts and figures.

The most relevant example of logos from the text is the passage in which he gives the audience historical facts to support the idea that America is built on hope:

"But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. […]

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation:

Yes, we can.

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