Last week marked the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration speech. It’s a speech with much to recommend it. Pace and tempo. Dramatic allusion and rhetorical flourish all delivered with a slightly Churchillian flourish.
Phrase reversals were a popular rhetorical device with John F Kennedy:
And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country
My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
and, referring to the USSR:
“Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”
His references to the former USSR clearly puts the speech in the context of 1961. Yes, he referenced civil rights, the economy and technology. But it was the relationship with the USSR plus war in Vietnam that was central to this speech.
He used opposites with equally good measure:
“I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it.”
It remains a poignant speech, not least because of the images of both President and Mrs Kennedy being driven through throngs of supporters in an open-topped car. A scene that was so tragically familiar less than three years later in Dallas, Texas.
Telling It Straight is our very own public speaking tips newsletter. Packed with skills tips to help you with your next speech, why not receive it this month?
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+
Boris Conference Speech Is Birmingham Box Office
Jeremy Corbyn Speech Stage Managed To Perfection
John McDonnell Conference Speech Proves Radical
Len McCluskey Conference Speech On The Defensive
Cable Conference Speech A Spasm Too Far
No Speech Is Better Than Any Speech For Tom Watson
Second Inauguration Speech For Obama
Presidential Inauguration Speech
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.