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woodrow wilsons war address to congress a rhetorical analysis

A Rhetorical Analysis Of Woodrow Wilsons War Address to Congress With the status of the countrys belligerency heavily in question, an apprehensive President Woodrow Wilson prepared to request from an unmotivated and unprepared country a declaration of war against Germany. After exerting every attempt possible to retain the peace and honor of the United States, the President was finally forced to choose between the two, in which he opted for the latter (Seymour 26). As he sat down to composehis congressional address proposing war, the uncertainty of his decisionoverwhelmed him. He confided to a member of his cabinet, Frank Cobb, thathe had never been as unsure about anything in his life as the judgment hewas making for the nation (Baker 506). Through a rhetorical analysis ofWilsons points of argumentation and his style in the presentation to the warcongress, we can gain a better understanding of the presidents purpose tonot only convince the Congress that American belligerency in the final stagesof the war would indefinitely shorten it and provide him with the opportunityto organize the peace for Europe as well as the rest of the world (Ferrell 2),but to sway the American peoples opinion to one of non-isolationism, to warnGermanys government that America would ultimately wield a powerfulsword to deny them victory (Parsons 2), to compel German citizens torelinquish the submarine attacks and negotiate peace and his terms (Parsons2), and to calm his own uncertainty about his decision. The need for Wilsons speech and the current mindset of theAmerican public were a direct result of a succession of antagonistic eventsin Europe that were rapidly effecting the United States. As the task ofremaining neutral became increasingly unfeasible due to numerous insults bythe British and German governments, Wilson was forced to shift his foreignpolicy into a more internationalist scope, a path which the majority ofAmericans failed to...

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