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comm 270 paper 2

comm 270 paper 2 - Ryley Leech Comm 270 Scheer Pathos in...

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Ryley Leech Comm 270 3/30/10 Scheer Pathos in Woodrow Wilson’s War Message This essay is a rhetorical analysis of Woodrow Wilson’s War Message that he delivered to Congress on April 2, 1917, using the Aristotelian concept of pathos . Under the Inventio canon of rhetoric, pathos is a means of persuasion that focuses on the emotional state of the audience induced by the rhetor’s words, instead of his or her logical or ethical appeal. When using pathos it is important to appeal to the audience’s compassion and imagination, allowing them to emotionally connect to the writer and the situation. When analyzing pathos , it is important to understand the audience of the time by looking at the political climate surrounding the speech. The United States adopted at neutral position in August of 1914, just a month after the official start of the European conflict. By February of 1915 German submarines were threatening the safety of American civilians in the Atlantic. In May of 1915, German U-boats sank the British passenger ship, the Lusitania, killing 128 American men women and children. During this time, Wilson stood in steadfast opposition of American involvement in the conflict and attempted to persuade Germany to discontinue assaults on passenger ships, however this request was denied. After his re-
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