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Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

            "A More Perfect Union" was a speech given by Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign after videos of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, surfaced in which the pastor was shown verbally attacking the U.S. government and the way race is treated in the country. One may think that Obama would give a speech in which he would simply respond to the media, but he doesn't just leave it at that. Obama manages to give a reasonable speech that strongly focuses on his ethos and a little on pathos to properly respond to the criticism against his relationship to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and also uses this as a basis for pinpointing America's current issues, using several rhetorical devices, especially antithesis, to emphasize his arguments.
             In the text of the speech, we can see many times throughout that Obama relies and imposes his ethos to create his arguments, but the cornerstone of his response lies in his past, which can be observed right after he begins giving details of his life as an American, starting with the phrase: "I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas" (239). This particular phrase was placed at the front of his story, followed almost immediately by, "I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave-owners" (240). Both of these phrases stand out in the text because Obama used a rhetorical device known as antithesis, which means that within each phrase they contain ideas that are opposite to each other, seen in black man and white woman, and in slaves and slave-owners. After he finished telling his story, he states his belief that it is his past that makes him a worthy candidate, and finishes with "out of many we are truly one" (240), which is an allusion to the motto carried by the American bald eagle: E Pluribus Unum.

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