One of the main similarities between the two inaugural speeches is the use of emotional appeal. Emotional appeal is one of the most effective persuasive techniques as the viewers give off an emotional response before logically thinking about what the speaker says. Trump and Obama use this technique throughout their speeches by using patriotism to appeal to American citizens.
To begin with, Trump refers to past presidents, thanking them for their work as presidents. He starts off his speech by thanking “Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama”. In referring to the past, Trump reminds the citizens about the hardships and successes that America has gone through. Each former president provided citizens with good memories during their time in office. Trump is hoping that it gives the American citizens a nostalgic feeling about all the good that these presidents have done for them assuring that the trend will continue with his presidency. Furthermore, Trump emphasizes his thoughts about America’s power over the world. Trump believes America’s authority has the ability to determine the path of “the world for many, many years to come”. Ever since the World Wars, America has been one of the most powerful countries in terms of its economic status and militarism.
In reminding America’s authority, Trump is appealing to the patriotic side of the citizens. It reminds the citizens of how America has influenced the world in the past decades providing a sense of control over the world for the citizens. Lastly, Trump explains how racial differences do not affect the love for America. Whether they are “black or brown or white” citizens, they “all bleed the same red blood of patriots”. During the 2016 campaign, the most left media often portrayed Trump as a racist. To counter those thoughts, Trump becomes inclusive of people of all colors to be able to be patriotic to America. He illustrates that patriotism is not only exclusive to white Americans as it can vary. It makes colored America feel more obliged to be a part of this country as the president is accepting of them.
Obama’s inaugural speech displays a similar patriotic theme to the likes of Trump’s speech. However, Obama uses it to develop hope for a better future due to the economy at the time. Obama refers to the workers of America to exaggerate America’s perseverance. Obama describes American workers during a time when the economy was going through depression as “no less productive than when this crisis began.” With the economy at the state it was, Obama praises American workers to help them feel vindicated for their hard work; motivating each citizen to contribute their part to the economy. In doing so, Obama is referring to the unity of the citizens which establishes a strong and united country the citizens can depend on during a crisis. Obama further conveys patriotism indirectly by bringing up America’s past achievements. In an attempt to rejuvenate hope of America prospering in the future, Obama reminds doubtful citizens that “they have forgotten what this country has already done.”
Over the centuries, America’s past is enriched with many achievements and accomplishments. Obama has taken the citizens back in time where only good memories of America are being thought of, which gives them validity over their claim of America being a great country. Moving on, Obama continues his patriotism by stating the obvious truth about America. Even at downtime for Americans, America remains “the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth” according to Obama. This blunt act of patriotism only reassures the audience about their country. It aids the audience to bring back confidence in their country and it reassures them that the president knows the level of power being given to him. Both Obama and Trump’s speeches are heavily influenced by patriotism but Obama uses it to uplift citizens from the economic climate at the time.