Analyzing Political Speeches: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy Words matter and the words of the Presidents of the United States are especially important because our President serves as a symbol of the nation. From the first presidential speech to the last, the words of Presidents have the potential not only to shape policy but also to unite, challenge, and inspire citizens. A president’s first opportunity to speak as the President of the United States usually happens on Inauguration Day after the oath of office is administered. Although not mandated by the United States Constitution, an inaugural address has been central to every inauguration ceremony since George Washington’s in 1789. Inaugural speeches are important because they give the newly-elected President of the United States the opportunity to connect with the American public, to present the challenges of the era and to outline his goals and how the new administration hopes to meet the challenges facing the nation. Of the inaugural addresses given, only a few are considered by historians to be noteworthy. Among those are the Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address of 1961. President Lincoln would be assassinated only a month after his address. President Kennedy gave the final two speeches of his presidency in Fort Worth, Texas on the morning of November 22, 1963 in Fort Worth, Texas; he would be assassinated that afternoon in Dallas, Texas. Objectives Students will: identify characteristics of good speeches analyze presidential speeches compare presidential inaugural speeches analyze the final two speeches delivered by President Kennedy in Fort Worth Texas on November 22, 1963
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