After Being chosen by Dwight D. Eisenhower as a running mate in the election of 1952, allegations were made by the New York Times that Richard Nixon had accepted bribes throughout his career in exchange for government influence. Under normal circumstances a vice-president candidate would have denied any such claims and then stepped off the ticket to save face, however the medium of television was finally coming into play in politics. Nixon wrote and delivered a televised speech in which he denied any claims that he accepted bribes, and only admitted to receiving the gift of a dog named checker from a man in Texas. Nixon’s use of Aristoteles appeals is effective because he uses hard proof and factual evidence to convey his message.
Nixon began his address by stating why he was before the public. He told the American people that “ the best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth”. Instead of being a coward or lying to the American public, Nixon decided not only to just go public with his answer but to address the issue on television. This means that you can see his facial expressions and arm gestures he expresses throughout the speech. For the most part of this speech Nixon sits behind a desk with his arms folded. This meant that he made very few arm gestures and his points were punctuated predominately through facial expressions. Now why is this a big deal? Well it’s very important because he can use that to his advantage to persuade public opinion by using pathos and logos to more effectively. Nixon uses many appeals to ethos, pathos and logos throughout the speech. From the very beginning, Nixon argues that any normal politician would have denied any claims made against them regardless of their content however he was standing in front of them and facing them in a honest and straight forward fashion. This is an attempt to gain the trust of the American people by addressing the issue head-on. Later on in the speech, Nixon begins to present all claims made against him and reads receipts and audits that he believes will prove that he never gained and money unlawfully. This is an appeal to logos, as he is using facts and figures to prove he never took any bribes. Also, later in the speech Nixon references his time as a congress man and a senator and his stats fighting communism and corruption. He sites that because of this he would never fall victim to corruption. This is once again an appeal to logos.
Nixon does not appeal heavily to pathos throughout this speech, his only use of it was when he says that his kids have fallen in love with the dog and he admits that though it may have been wrong that he accepted it, he will not give it back no matter the repercussions.
Essentially what this speech is trying to convey to the American public is why he and Dwight D. Eisenhower are the best men to deal with the issues both domestic and foreign of the time and to prove that he never accepted any bribes illegally.
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Critical Analysis of Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” Speech in September 1952.
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