The hyphenated Americans speech by Theodore Roosevelt is one of his most controversial speeches. Theodore Roosevelt in his speech sought to address it to Americans with split identities. He claimed that hyphenated Americans were not fit to be termed as Americans. The rationale for this speech was to make Americans be united. He wanted to instil a culture of inclusivity in the diverse country. The speech was written to reassure Americans of their indiscriminate safety during the war in return for their allegiance to the country. Theodore Roosevelt wanted all non-American individuals to assimilate Americanism and amalgamate into one citizenry.
Roosevelt’s perception on Americanism was that being hyphenated proves that a person’s real allegiance is in their country of descent and therefore has no place in America. On the contrary, other individuals feel like Theodore criticized heritage. The critics of the speech assert that cultural diversity is what shapes individuals in the current generation. They maintain that being hyphenated does not in any affect the level of patriotism for them. They argue that hyphenation acknowledges origin of descent that makes them identify more with being American. In the current American context, it sparks controversy on the issue of illegal immigrants.
The speech however contradicts itself when it asserts that discrimination against aliens is wrong. This generates controversy as it is not clear as to how illegal aliens are supposed to be treated. He believes that in the process of adopting citizenship, the illegal immigrant might end up being bitter (Martin, 2014). The hyphenation of Americans triggers the concept of intolerance. It makes it easier for discrimination to occur based on the division along the lines of differing backgrounds. It undermines the progress made in the quest for equality and recognition for all citizens. The speech is an emphasis to all individuals in American soil to feel appreciated.
The Enemy from Within Analysis
This infamous speech by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was meant to accuse the government of harbouring communists. He is however quick to mention that Abraham Lincoln was a peaceful president who abhorred war. McCarthy invokes fear to Americans by claiming that communism is responsible for the war. The facts in his speech are unreliable as there is no consistence. He tries to justify his assertions by giving the exact number of communists he believed were present. He makes Americans feel threatened by individuals within its confines and probably protected by the governing bodies.
The speech seeks to give an impression that he is the only legit individual. The speech appears like a warning sign to the American citizens. He paints the government as corruptible. However, his strategy was to create a state of panic in the political arena. Its significance was to create an image that portrays his opponents as untrustworthy. It is alleged that speech was a political stunt meant to give him political mileage. The statistics he gives further provides a premise of a threat to war. He convinces Americans that they are threatened by the enemy in their midst and that they are in danger. This is evidenced by the sentiment “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be because of enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within.” Implicating treachery for political mileage is totally wrong (Lane, 2016). The allusion to war spread fear which might be subsequently catastrophic when panic spreads. By claiming that communists were infiltrating the country may seem like an eye opener but in reality they were uncomfortable rumours. The governing bodies are responsible for instilling confidence in its people.
George H.W. Bush on the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities Act was assented into law by George W. Bush in a bid to protect individuals with disabilities from any form of discrimination. The speech affirms that if the tremendous numbers of people with disabilities are not treated with dignity, then efforts to achieve the American dream would be futile. It was the right thing for George Bush to do since for a long time, people with disabilities were not accorded equal opportunities. Individuals leading lives with disabilities are entitled to access opportunities like everyone else. Initially, disability was a hindrance to the success of individuals. This was due to the previous discrimination and stigma associated with being disabled.
The remarks by George Bush were meant to obligate all Americans to respect the rights of the disabled. It was more of an assertion to all individuals to offer any help to the disabled so that they could advance themselves. According to Bush’s remarks, the Act was meant to remind Americans to be inclusive. This can be achieved by offering solutions that includes increasing the amount of opportunities available for the affected individuals.
George Bush reminds Americans that never should the disabled be denied access to opportunities. He seems to usher in a new era when he states ‘And today, America welcomes into the mainstream of life all of our fellow citizens with disabilities’. He connotes that he is aware that those leading lives with disabilities had been going through numerous challenges (Silvers Francis, 2017). The last line in his essay is a plea to Americans to shun harassing the disabled. His speech is an address to the disabled mainly and Bush’s assertions are a speech on behalf of this. In summary, the speech uses the ‘we’ persona to depict that Bush is a part of them.
Maya Angelou “On the Pulse of the Morning”
On the Pulse of the Morning by Maya Angelou is a poem that written for Bill Clinton’s inauguration. The poem explores the dark past of America but concludes by creating an air of optimism. Its message portrays that individuals are different but despite the diversity, if individuals work collaboratively great things will be accomplished. The sentiment “In all my work, what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike” (Angelou, 2015). Celebrates the fact individuals are more homogenous than the way they differ. The poem depicts how crucial it is not to fear in the quest for survival. It is an inspiration to Americans to have the courage to face their trials and tribulations.
The message Maya Angelou conveys is that of hope. It encourages social inclusivity and love between all Americans. She uses nature to relay her message. She personifies objects in the poem by giving them human attributes. In the poem, Angelou posits that ‘but today the rock cries to us, clearly, forcefully. Come you may stand upon my back and face your distant destiny’ to imply that the rock is capable of speaking. It implies that it can be a stepping stone to greater heights. Maya Angelou depicts that life is full of barriers but can be conquered with the right attitudes. Maya encourages people that the end result is positive if everyone is optimistic and does not dwell in the past for all individuals regardless of their status or background. She inspires motivation that change can only be achieved through inner convictions. She demonstrates that a proper attitude goes a long way in achieving success as a country.
President-Elect Barack Obama’s Victory Speech
The speech by former president Barrack Obama alludes that America is the land of possibilities. It talks of the American dream as depicted in Martin Luther’s speech I have a dream. Obama implies that he is the long sought change America has been waiting for. He promises change and inclusivity for all individuals regardless of their status or background. Obama creates an aura of normalcy by thanking his family and praising his opponents (Alter, J. (2010).
The speech evokes a feeling of wanting to collaboratively working together. The sentiments ‘It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to the cause’ portrays that all causes are worthy regardless of the size. The speech makes the target audience to believe that in order to achieve exponential heights, unity must prevail. He encourages Americans from all walks of life to mend bridges and to be humble. His speech is a call to Americans to take charge of their lives of their lives. His ending remarks includes the slogan ‘Yes we Can’ to mean that everything is achievable when individuals work cohesively. The word ‘we’ makes him be perceived as a humble leader who is willing to incorporate the divergent opinions of its citizens when making decisions. He deviates from the conventional ‘I will’ used by leaders to relay how they will work. Critics claim that Obama used his excellent oratory skills to woo the masses.
In summary, the speech is an appeal to the masses that unity is vital to the progress in achieving the American dream. He tries to introduce the aspect of tolerance and equitable treatment. In essence, he is asking Americans to be tolerant. He encourages them to be unified so that they can make progress in the quest to a worthy cause.