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Infamy and Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, "a date which will live in infamy." Those words have become as immortal as the date itself, December 7, 1941. This succinct and memorable line marked a critical moment in American history. With those simple words, our nation's president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, established a retaliatory course of action that would rally a country and, eventually, end a war. An attack on American soil was a stab to the heart of every United States citizen. Pain and insult were felt by all. Roosevelt understood this. At the instant when Japan bombarded American soil without provocation, all eyes, ears, and hearts turned to their leader for guidance. President Roosevelt used Ethos, Pathos, and repetition effectively in his appeal to Congress and his fellow Americans to declare war on Japan.

On December 8, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation and through this medium used his influence as President of the United States of America to gain key political and public support for his plan to lead the Unites States into war with Japan. Ethos is defined as the source's credibility and the speaker or author's authority. The most obvious use of Ethos in this speech is when Roosevelt decrees, "As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense." By referring to himself as the "commander in chief of the Army and Navy," he immediately reminds his audience of the position he holds and establishes respect and authority for his decision. He then reaches for common ground with his listeners when he says, "I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us." Roosevelt implies that he is the one setting the course of action for Congress but that this is what the Congress and t...

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Infamy and Pearl Harbor. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:17, June 21, 2024, from