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Rhetorical Analysis of Ronald Regan: Shuttle Challenger Tragedy Address

Rhetorical Analysis of Ronald Reagan 's Space Shuttle Tragedy Address

Rhetoric (n ) - the art of speaking or writing effectively (Webster 's dictionary

Rhetoric : the ability , in each particular case , to see the available means of persuasion

-Aristotle 's definition

It is unfortunate that some refuse to look beyond their disagreement of the politics of Ronald Reagan and give the man the credit his is due as one of the greatest orators in political history . By combining a populist approach with an overtly positive tone , Ronald Reagan was able to

strike an emotional cord that crossed party lines to captivate his constituency . This is clearly evident in Reagan 's address to the nation after the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy where the late President implored the nation to look beyond the tragedy and see the crew 's sacrifice as a testament to their fearlessness in the face of exploration and as a symbol of never giving up the hope to achieve

In his address , Reagan notes that he was originally going to discuss the state of the union , but the tragic events surrounding the shuttle 's demise have altered his plans . He speaks about the courage of the shuttle 's crew and asks that while we should mourn them , we should never overlook what it is they accomplished . He implored schoolchildren to look upon the members of the crew as great heroes and to recognize them as role models . He compared the crew to great explorers of history and notes that we , as a nation , must continue to explore in their memory

While Reagan is most known for being a Cold Warrior ' whose speeches help garner support for his anti-communist policies , many forget that he was also known for addresses common malaise that people may have felt over tragic situations and putting this situations into perspective so that people could move beyond the tragedy and look to the future Nothing typifies this more than Reagan ' speech about the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy , as Reagan 's ability to strike a nerve in the audience of his television address was incredibly powerful and the power of his delivery was rooted in the fact that his speech was firmly rooted in Aristotle 's principles of rhetoric

The ethos of Reagan 's speech is rooted in the six years of goodwill he had developed with the electorate . Reagan had won an incredible landslide election in 1984 and , while some critics have called the win the result of marketing , such criticism is absurd . You do not win 49 states with marketing , you win because an overwhelming majority of the population believes in the leadership as well as trusts the leadership . As such , the speech 's audience would carefully listen to Reagan 's feelings on the tragedy

With the words Ladies and Gentlemen , I 'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union , but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans . Today is a day...

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