Communication Analysis Paper
Arizona, 1909 – a merchant family gives birth to a good speaker, Barry Morris Goldwater. Barry Goldwater studied at the Staunton Military Academy and at the University of Arizona. After his studies, Goldwater gave his services and helped his family, especially with regards to their business. Soon after the Second World War broke, Goldwater enlisted for the United States Army Air Corps. In the United States Army Air Corps, he was assigned to serve in the Pacific, as well as in India.
After decades of service, Barry Goldwater became the Brigadier General of the Air Force Reserve.
Barry Goldwater’s 1964 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco can be regarded as one of the most forceful and controversial speeches during his time. Delivered at possible the most rasping Republican convention since Teddy Roosevelt tried to overthrow in office president William Howard Taft in 1912, it was a call to arms for conservatives and the new conservatism.
Goldwater’s speech was stimulating and striking, but when he said that “extremist in the defense of liberty is no vice (and) moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”, he lit up the hall.
It was undoubtedly a rallying point for the faithful on that summer evening in San Francisco, but the announcement hung over Goldwater like a dark cloud for the rest of the campaign and some would say for the rest of his life. No matter how hard he tried to clarify what he meant, it was constantly understood that he was eager to recognize the right-wing extremists into his campaign at the expense of Nelson Rockefeller and the Republican moderates. The Saturday Evening Post remarked, “that statement deserves to be the ‘Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion’ of this election, and Barry Goldwater deserves to be defeated for it alone, no matter how much he tries to clown it away (since) he knows what he meant by it” (Donaldson, 151).
In Goldwater’s speech, it must be considered first that delivering an efficient or successful opening speech needs skill and great preparation. However, there is nothing mysterious about the process. The canons of rhetoric have been known by man even during the time of the ancient Greeks. Barry Goldwater’s approach to educating the citizenry or voters was prepared and well-thought into these five canons namely invention, memory, organization, style and delivery. All the canons address themselves to thought.
The canon of invention deals with thought straightforwardly by understanding the emotions, reasoning processes and character of the communicator (Salvador and Sias, 49). Considering the character of Barry Goldwater, generally, Arizona was responsible for his political background. Goldwater grew up as a staunch individualist who was distrustful of the government. For the touchstone of his political beliefs, he considered and embraced the doctrine of limited government. This political belief, and philosophy, was able to carry Barry Goldwater first to the Phoenix City Council and then to the United States Senate in the year 1952 (Schweizer and Hall, 2007). In his speech, he first appealed to the audience’s emotions and stated how he is grateful for being the representative of the Republican Party and that he accepts it with great humility. He also instilled their sense of nationalism and persuaded them into the idea of unity and cooperation in achieving a common goal or objective.
The canon of memory is associated to thought in at least two ways. In classical times it concerned itself with how to retain information or ideas. Memory is now more generally visualized or regarded as a collective history that shapes, and is shaped by, cultures (Salvador and Sias, 49). In Barry Goldwater’s speech, he supported his reasoning or arguments with evidences or events in history. He also utilized these events in giving emphasis to his speech and in persuading them towards his mission and vision for the campaign, or for the country as a whole. Goldwater also tried to have the audience recall their past experiences with the government or administration.
In his speech, Barry Goldwater mentioned that “During four futile years, the administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that faith” (“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech”). He also adds that “failures cement the wall of shame in Berlin” (“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech). From these statements, it can be said that Goldwater tried to use both the canon of memory as well as the canon of invention in order to catch the attention of his audience and strongly persuade them to listen on what he plans to do. The use of the canon of memory can be further observed as he continues with his speech by recalling past failures of the government such as in the “blot sands of shame at the Bay of Pigs”, the “slow death of freedom in Laos”, “infest in the jungles of Vietnam” and the “haunt on the houses of our once great alliances and undermine the greatest bulwark ever created by free nations (or) the NATO community” (“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech). These things mentioned by Barry Goldwater serves as a stimulus in the brain or mind of the audience to recall things in history or specifically, think of these events that he mentioned while subsequently appealing to the emotions of the audience. It can be said that it further patiotism and the advancement or movement towards a different government or administration, preferably the one that Barry Goldwater has stored for them.
The third canon of study, organization, is about how we structure ideas in thought and language (Salvador and Sias, 49). In the acceptance speech of Barry Goldwater, it can be said that the structure of the speech follows a pattern of addressing his audience and getting their attention first. Then, he provides or gives information, facts or historical events, followed by giving an explanation of what he had mentioned. Subsequently, he appeals to the audience’s emotions and persuades them to his thoughts and ideas. Lastly, he states or shows his plans to change what he finds wrong in the system and returns back to the audience, assuring them that if they would go with his direction or objectives, one of the things that they would be able to do is “to free our people and light the way for liberty throughout the world” (“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech”).
On the other hand, the canon of style refers to language as it reflects the world, ideas about the world, and the soul of the speaker (Salvador and Sias, 49). From the structure of Goldwater’s speech, it can be observed that he uses the canon of style in order to influence the audience. In addition to this, since he was trying to show that cooperation or unity is greatly needed, he addresses the audience or public from the point of view of the whole Republican Party. Though, it can still be observed that in some parts of his speech, Goldwater starts with “I”, providing his own ideas or point of view. For example, he tells the audience that “I (Goldwater) know this freedom is not the fruit of every soil, I know that our own freedom was achieved through centuries by unremitting efforts by brave and wise men, I know that the road to freedom is a long and challenging road” (“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech”). Such manner of speech greatly shows the soul of the speaker and how he sympathizes with the world. Moreover, it gives further emphasis regarding his appeal.
Lastly, the final canon, delivery, describes how a speech is physically presented. Although it includes such matters as vocal control and variation, gestures and eye contact, it too, reveals, presents or delivers one person to another (Salvador and Sias, 49). The speech of Barry Goldwater greatly shows emphasis on some of the points that he is trying to make. The tone of his voice can be observed to rise on some ideas or point of view, resulting to great acceptance from the audience. In addition to this, he allows some time for the audience to react (with cheers and applauses) on his speech. He also takes time in saying his words, clearly, audibly and persuasively (“Barry Goldwater Clip”).
Generally, the classical approach does not give us power by accounting for how we are influenced by communication. The traditional canons beseech citizens to assess or weight the assumptions, emotional content, evidence, and ethical implications of ideas. According to Salvador and Sias “armed with knowledge of rhetoric we are better able to combat demagoguery and chicanery, ignorant of it we may stand powerless before them” (49).
Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco, California, is noteworthy and effective, especially when observed in perspective of modern politics. Far from resolving differences in an effort to widen or extend his political base, Goldwater stood steadfastly and assertively to his ideological convictions, beliefs and passion. It is often said that while Goldwater lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson thoroughly, he prompted or initiated a conservative revolution that recreated the GOP and, in the end, “paved the way for his chief campaign spokesman”, Ronald Reagan (Schweizer and Hall, 31)
“Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech”. USA, 1998. (April 25, 2008): The Washintong Post Company. April 24 2008. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwaterspeech.htm>.
Donaldson, Gary. Modern America: A Documentary History of the Nation since 1945. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2007.
Libertyeconomics. “Barry Goldwater Clip”. 2007. (April 25, 2008). 2008 April 24. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GITwqqE72N8>.
Salvador, Michael, and Patricia M. Sias. The Public Voice in a Democracy at Risk. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 1998.
Schweizer, P., and W.C. Hall. Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement. USA: Texas A&M University Press, 2007.
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Communication Analysis Paper. (2016, Sep 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/communication-analysis-paper/