President Theodore Roosevelt Proclamation and First Inaugural Address: The Use of Ethos and Pathos Lisa Weber ENG 530. 020 Dr. Mollick December 5, 2012 Inaugural addresses usually follow a farewell address given by the outgoing President. In the book Presidents Creating Presidency: Deeds Done in Words, Campbell and Jamieson’s chapter on “Farewell Addresses” explain that “[a] farewell address is an anticipatory ritual; the address is delivered days, sometimes weeks, before an outgoing president “lays down” the office, an event that does not occur until a successor is sworn in” (308).
This was not the case for Theodore Roosevelt for there was no pending farewell speeches planned. Vice-President Roosevelt became president after the unexpected assassination of President William McKinley on September 14, 1901. In Campbell and Jamieson’s chapter on “Special Addresses: The Speeches of Ascendant Vice Presidents,” they state that in history there have been only nine times where a vice president moved up to president (57). Eight of these incidents involved a president being assassinated and one involved impeachment.
Campbell and Jamieson also acknowledge that “[t]he death of any person creates the need for a unique form of symbolic response: the eulogy” and that “need for a eulogy even more urgent” (57). They affirm that “[t]he community is threatened because it has lost its leader; the citizenry needs reassurance that communal institutions will survive” (57). The unexpected death of McKinley left Roosevelt with the responsibility of comforting the nation. Roosevelt was able to reassure the citizens through the process of his First Proclamation.
This proclamation could be seen as his first inaugural address to the nation, with the second official inaugural address coming on March 4, 1905. In this paper we will be looking at two different appeals, pathos and ethos, being used in two totally different addresses. In order to comprehend the use of these rhetorical approaches we need to look at some important information behind the man Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt was a man of many words as well as ideals. He was a well educated man; more than some of the presidents before him and those who came after him.
While attending college his first year studies consisted of: Classical Literature, Greek (Plato), Latin (Cicero, Horace), German Language studies, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. In his sophomore year he studied Rhetoric, History, while taking the following electives: German IV, German V, French IV, Natural History III and Natural History VIII. The junior year brought him to studying six themes in English, Philosophy with elective courses in German VIII, Italian I, Philosophy VI, Natural History I, and Natural History III.
Roosevelt’s last year consisted of classes in the four forensic themes in English, Italian II, Political Economy II, Natural History IV, and Natural History VI. With all these courses any person could see how strongly educated Roosevelt was and how knowledgeable he was in all areas of academia. With his classes in English and Rhetoric he became eloquent with his linguistics allowing him to compose his own speeches and books. In Speeches of the American Presidents, Janet Podell and Steven Anzovin believed that Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Jefferson were naturally gifted in writing (355).
They assert that Roosevelt saw himself as a “professional man of letters, and his total output of words, which numbers in the tens of millions, dwarfs that of any other president” (355). Through research, many individuals believe that Roosevelt was the main author of all his speeches. Podell and Anzovin believe that Roosevelt had been known to have “dictate[d] them in outline form” and that he used his “confidants such as Henry Cabot Lodge” to look at his speeches and other messages before presenting them (355).
In Politics as Performance Art: The Body English of Theodore Roosevelt, H. W. Brands states that “[h]e wore out the stenographers dictating letters, and he wore out clerks reading his messages to Congress” and he continues with informing the reader in parentheses that “his first message, drafted before McKinley was cold in the grave, weighed in at twenty thousand words” (121). In the biographical material that Podell and Anzovin have compiled they inform the reader that Roosevelt was once a Sunday school teacher and saw the political platform as a “bully pulpit” (356).
They also express that Roosevelt’s tendency in speaking and writing resembles that of a Protestant preacher, as he stresses the importance of walking “towards the paths of righteousness and virtue” (356). Many people did not like the manner to which Roosevelt would present his speeches because he would be seen as being very loud in volume. While walking back and forth he can be seen waving his speech around like a maniac man screeching his voice in tones that were unbearable to some listening.
Podell and Anzovin describes William Roscoe Thayer observations to the manner of which Roosevelt dramatized his speeches; that some of the “listeners were fascinated by “his gestures, the way in which his pent-up thoughts seemed almost to strangle him before he could utter them, his smile showing the white rows of teeth, his fist clenched to strike an invisible adversary” (356). Theodore Roosevelt loved the attention and enjoyed the art of oratory for he looked for many opportunities to speak in public, especially on issues that he was passionate about.
For Roosevelt, speechmaking was a means to “educate the public and to inspire it” (356). One of Roosevelt’s closest friends, Henry Cabot Lodge gives credit to Roosevelt’s dominance “over his listeners to the “force of conviction” with which he preached his vision of the just society” (356). Henry Cabot Lodge describes and esteems Roosevelt in his article “Why Theodore Roosevelt Should Be Elected President” when he reminds the public of all of Roosevelt’s accomplishments when he says “[h]e has carried on the policies of his predecessor; he has been loyal to Republican principles” (329).
He continues his list of accomplishments when he states that Roosevelt “has fearlessly enforced the laws in regards to trusts. His prompt and courageous action has given us the Panama Canal. He has raised the prestige of the Monroe Doctrine to a higher point than ever before and brought the great nations of the earth to the Hague Tribunal, a signal service to the cause of peace” (329). Cabot wanted the citizen’s to remember all the good that Roosevelt had accomplished since taking the helm.
In Roosevelt’s speech “The Strenuous Life,” he believed that a man’s character and America’s character was what set us apart from others. He stated in this speech that he “wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife, to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph” (357).
Roosevelt was one to utilize vocabulary enabling people to remember what he stood for and what his vision was for every man; for with these words he became a man of magnetism. In Images in Words: Presidential Rhetoric, Charisma, and Greatness, four authors (Cynthia Emrich, Holly Brower, Jack Feldman and Howard Garland) analyzed “two sets of U. S. presidents’ speeches to determine whether their propensities to convey images in words were linked to perceptions of their charisma and greatness” (527).
As a result of this study they came to the conclusion that the presidents’ who in their inaugural addresses used more image-based language were deemed greater in the area of charisma. They also found that the presidents’ that used these image-based words in their speeches were considered and graded higher in the area of “charisma and greatness” (527). As a result of these findings, the four authors decided that with the proper approach and verbiage any leader would be able to convey his/her vision with verbal/visual illustrations.
The verbal and visual imagery would help the listeners paint a picture in their minds to help them remember what was the subject matter was and was more apt to commit it to memory. In this article, Emrich, Brower, Feldman and Garland believe that “leaders who use words that evoke pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, and other sensations tap more directly into followers’ life experiences than do leaders who use words that appeal solely to followers’ intellect” (529).
This study also looked at the other side of the spectrum where leaders used concept-based rhetoric and as a result “both charisma and greatness failed to reach significance” (549). Taking all this into consideration, Roosevelt knew what he was doing in each of his speeches and how he could reach his audience. With proper preparation, Roosevelt crafted some of the most monumental speeches and phrases that history will always remember. Roosevelt took careful consideration as to the mode and manner of his language that he would use to be able to comfort and console a grieving nation.
In Theodore Roosevelt’s “unofficial” inaugural address, which was really his First Presidential Proclamation, he took all the necessary precautions to soothe the pain and grief of the nation’s mourners through his words. On the Theodore Roosevelt Center website it displays the statement that Roosevelt made in Ansley Wilcox’s library. Ansley Wilcox was a close friend of Roosevelt and was a prominent lawyer. He also worked closely together with him as well as New York State Governor Grover Cleveland. Vice President Roosevelt was sworn in (without a Bible) as President of the United States in a non-traditional manner.
The unexpected death of McKinley affected many; for the loss brought a sense of uncertainty in the national affairs. It was Roosevelt’s job to convince the nation that he was worthy of fulfilling the duties of William McKinley. In Andrew Carnegie’s introduction for Roosevelt’s book “The Roosevelt Policy” he believes that “[t]he man of destiny comes to nations, as we know, just when he is most needed” (ix). Carnegie believes that the untimely death of McKinley was ordained in a sense. In Roosevelt’s statement that was printed in the Buffalo Sunday Times he stated: I shall take the oath at once in accord with the request of you members of the Cabinet, and in this hour of our deep and terrible national bereavement I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace, the prosperity and the honor of our beloved country. ” It is here that we see a man who is grieving with the nation, but also realizing that he had to assure the nation that President McKinley’s work and vision would continue. When Roosevelt was sworn in he had a very private ceremony with little attention.
He did not want the funeral as well as the swearing into office to become a circus of journalists. He only allowed McKinley’s cabinet, Ansley Wilcox and several other advisors. With the pressure of crafting a eulogy style proclamation with the use of pathos, Roosevelt allowed others to help him in the process for reassurance. In this proclamation he would try to reach out and make the situation personal to all when he stated “[t]he President of the United States has been struck down—a crime committed not only against the chief magistrate, but against every law abiding and liberty-loving citizen” (Buffalo Sunday Times).
In the second part of his proclamation, Roosevelt elaborates on the goodness of William McKinley and what he stood for as a human, as a citizen and as a Christian who would “remain a precious heritage of our people” (Buffalo Sunday Times). After he sings the praises of McKinley, Roosevelt joins in with grief and with sorrow by stating “[i]t is meet that we as a nation express our abiding and reverence for his life, our deep sorrow over his untimely death” (Buffalo Sunday Times).
The proclamation comes in the last portion of the entire eulogy when he when he commits September 19th as a day of “mourning and prayer” and encourages people to go to their own personal place worship in honor, respect and love of the untimely death of President McKinley. These spoken words are different than those that were spoken at Roosevelt’s second (first as an elected president) Inaugural address. On Saturday March 4, 1905, Theodore Roosevelt gave his very first Inaugural Address as an elected President of the United States. This was not the same style of address that he had given six months after William McKinley was assassinated.
Many doubted Roosevelt and several left their positions under his command; so the election of 1905 was crucial for Roosevelt to continue his plan. Roosevelt’s character, morals had a major role in him getting elected in 1905. Roosevelt lived out what he preached about in regards to having just morals and an upright character within society. People respected him and knew that he was genuine and forthright in everything he accomplished and believed. In the book “The Roosevelt Policy” there is an Introduction section where Andrew Carnegie informs the reader the positives of Theodore Roosevelt.
Carnegie compares the critics of Lincoln to those of Roosevelt where they judge them on their mannerisms and traditions. He continues to acknowledge some of Roosevelt’s attributes when he states “we accept Roosevelt for what he is and would not have him different—an able, courageous, honest, democratic man of the people acting himself out just as the spirit leads him without one particle of pretense” (ix). we read Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address where he illustrates that he was thankful, humble, responsible, reliable, blessed by the “Giver of Good,” sincere, generous, and friendly (245).
He believes that Roosevelt’s “finest qualities shine resplendent in his relations with his principal colleagues around him” for these qualities involve Roosevelt’s loyalty to his close friends who have become “first friends and after that colleagues” (xx). One of Theodore Roosevelt’s goals as President according to Carnegie is “to develop in the average man of affairs a keener sense of personal and official responsibility than ever existed before” (xv). When we delve into the actual Inaugural Address itself we can see through the eyes of Roosevelt a great nation, a nation striving to live with all humility and dignity.
Roosevelt states that he believes that “[w]e have become a great Nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth; and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities” and that “our attitude must be one of cordial and sincere friendship” (246). Here we see that Roosevelt is making it all personal and including the citizens as part of that greatness. The need to show with our actions and not just with our words is the premise of desiring the acquisition of others goodwill by demonstrating a “spirit of just and generous recognition of all their right” (246).
One of the greatest statements from the Inaugural Address involves the expectancy of within and without our nation and Roosevelt believes that “[m]uch has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we cab shirk from neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities” (246). Roosevelt wanted to enforce the positives of the importance of being a nation of character.
Throughout Roosevelt’s address he talks about responsibility, and the importance of having “high traits of character as that people which seeks to govern its affairs aright through the freely expressed will of the freemen who compose it” (248). He was also an advocate to leaving a proud heritage within the personal family and as well as the nation. Roosevelt thought about the future and the future of his children, and our children today. He wanted to be able to give them the hope that all our past, present and future presidents will want to give.
In Politics as Performance Art: The Body English of Theodore Roosevelt, H. W. Brands conveys his insight by stating that Roosevelt had an “enormous ego” and that “he simply loved the limelight” (121). Theodore had to prove himself and to the nation after McKinley was assassinated because he was considered “the foe of the bosses” and that “it was a necessity” (121). In David Greenberg’s “Beyond the Bully Pulpit” one area that Roosevelt remained faithful to was his faith in God for he “saw political questions as spiritual ones: His advocacy of social improvement was high-minded and hortatory” (25).
Roosevelt understood that the problems and issues the country was facing was unlike the ones of his predecessors and acknowledges that fact when he states in his address that “though the tasks set before us differ from the tasks set before our fathers who founded and preserved this Republic, the spirit in which these tasks must be undertaken and these problems faced, if our duty is to be well done, remains essentially unchanged” (248). He continues by stating that we need to uphold the highest character for it is with this character that we can continue in “self-government” (248).
He believes that in order to maintain our freedom we need to continually demonstrate “not merely in crisis, but in everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln” (248). Throughout this research many influential people recognized Theodore Roosevelt’s giftedness in writing and in oratory.
He knew how to reach individuals and make them feel as if they were part of the solution and that they mattered to him. Theodore Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address was unlike majority of our Presidents, past and present. There was no farewell address from a reigning president but instead there was a eulogy. The transition from Vice President to President was abrupt even though they all tried to make the transition smoothly. Roosevelt knew that his words and deeds were going to either make him or break him.
One area that stayed consistent throughout his life was his character for that was strong and did not waiver. He was a trusted man and a man of his word who wanted the best for the nation in such a trying time period. Theodore Roosevelt has become a role model for many people and has been one who people will remember for years to come. Works Cited Brands H. W. Politics as Performance Art: The Body English of Theodore Roosevelt. eBook Collection. EBSCO. Web. 29 Nov 2012. Campbell, Karlyn. , Jamieson, Kathleen. Presidents Creating the Presidency: Deeds Done in Words.
Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2008. Print. Emrich, Cynthia G. , Holly H. Brower, Jack M. Feldman and Howard Garland. “Images in Words: Presidential Rhetoric, Charisma and Greatness. ” Administrative Science Quarterly 46. 3 (2001): 527-557. JSTOR. 22 Oct 2012 http://www. jstor. org/search Gelderman, Carol. “All the Presidents’ Words. ” The Wilson Quarterly (1976- ) 19. 2 (1995): 68-79. JSTOR. 22 Oct 2012 http://www. jstor. org/search Greenberg, David. “Beyond the Bully Pulpit. ” The Wilson Quarterly 35. 3 (2011): 22-29. JSTOR. 22 Oct 2012 http://www. jstor. org/search
Lodge, Henry Cabot. “Why Theodore Roosevelt Should Be Elected President. ” The North American Review 179. 574 (1904): 321-330. JSTOR. 22 Oct 2012 http://www. jstor. org/search “President’s Proclamation. ” Buffalo Sunday Time, New York, 15 Sept. 1901. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. http://www. theodorerooseveltcenter. org/research/digital-library/record Podell, Janet. , Anzovin, Steven. Speeches of the American Presidents. eBook Collection. EBSCO. Web. 29 Nov 2012. Roosevelt, Theodore. The Roosevelt Policy. New York, NY, The Current Literature Publishing Co. , 1908. Google Web. 29 Nov 2012.
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