Public Communication Discussion

I’m working on a social science multi-part question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.


Aside from the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech ‘I have a dream’ discuss an additional great speech and what you believe makes it great. Address tone, message, non-verbals and any other aspect that you believe makes it a great speech.

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The speech I will discuss is “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln, delivered on November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War.

The speech is great for several reasons. First, it is short and to the point, making it memorable and easy to remember. Second, its tone is somber and reflective, which matches the occasion of the dedication of the cemetery for the soldiers who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. Third, the message of the speech is powerful and timeless. It focuses on the idea that the United States is a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” This message resonated then and continues to resonate today as an affirmation of American values.

Another aspect that makes the speech great is the use of rhetorical devices, particularly repetition and parallel structure. The repetition of phrases such as “we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground” emphasizes the importance of the sacrifice made by the soldiers and the duty of the living to continue their work. The use of parallel structure in the final sentence, with the repetition of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” reinforces the idea that the United States is a democracy founded on the principle of popular sovereignty.

Finally, the non-verbal aspect of the speech is also notable. Lincoln’s delivery was simple and understated, yet his sincerity and conviction were evident. His serious and reflective demeanor was appropriate for the occasion and helped to convey the gravity of the moment.

Overall, “The Gettysburg Address” is a great speech because of its powerful and timeless message, its effective use of rhetorical devices, and the sincerity and conviction conveyed through its non-verbal aspects.

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