The aim of the speech is to remind and persuade the American people to stand up and condemn current political misgivings, such as rising national debt and unnecessary American intervention in the war. Reagan is urging American adults and parents to consider the future and how they want to survive in the country with their children.
The speech’s target audience includes the entire nation, politicians, and American citizens, especially those who are able to vote. The main goal of the speech is to get the American people to see and relate things from his perspective, and give them a reason as to why they should make a choice between bureaucratic governments or self-reliance and freedom. His most famous quote being “we have come to a time for choosing”.
What notions from the Cohen book can be applied to better understanding the speech?
Reagan used layering of elements in his speech (Cohen, 2011). It is clear which is the beginning, climax and end of the speech. Understanding how memorable messages are constructed made it easy to identify various symbolisms and understand the tone of the speech and why Reagan kept repeating certain wordings.
What other things did you observe/note?
Reagan was quick to connect with the audience he gave the speech the life it needed. His words were authoritative enough while at the same time were impervious enough to create a strong bond with the audience. Reagan was indifferent while giving the speech, he made sure to not let himself portray emotions and or variations in his voice as he delivered the speech (Levasseur, Dean, & Plaff, 2007).
With this inspirational speech Reagan left the audience high with emotions and with a strong and memorable message “we have come to a time of choosing”.
Cohen, S. D. (2011). Lessons from the podium: Public speaking as a leadership art. Harvad: Cognella.
Levasseur, D. G., Dean, K. W., & Plaff, J. (2007). Speech pedagogy beyond the basics: a study of instructional methods in the advanced public speaking course. Communication Education, 234-252.