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American Honors CMST 220 - Rhetorical Analysis Paper  

This research guide will help you complete the Rhetorical Analysis Paper assignment in American Honors CMST 220.
Last Updated: Jul 26, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Senator John F. Kennedy

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy Announcing his Candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, January 2, 1960. Courtesy of


Your Rhetorical Analysis Paper

In order to complete this assignment, you will need to:

  • Select a presidential address (any of the four styles discussed in class) from current day or history that offers an opportunity to analyze elements of the speech making process.
  • Obtain a manuscript copy of the speech and/or video footage if possible or relevant
  • Obtain background information regarding the purpose of the speech, the setting, the speaker objectives, the audience perceptions/expectations, the reactions to the speech, and the impacts of the speech.

In the text of the paper, you will need to:

  • Formulate a position/opinion you have about the speech.
    • Sample: The Gettysburg Address was originally poorly received by the American public because it failed to adequately address the occasion.
  • Include a preview statement.
    • Sample: This paper will explore the audience’s perceptions of the address’s inadequacies by looking first at the topic expectations, second, expectations of the speaker, and finally expectations for the occasion.
  • The paper should offer examples and analysis that supports the writer’s opinion.
  • The paper should incorporate the vocabulary and concepts of the course.

Why are you doing this assignment?

Such an assignment offers the students a non-oral performance venue to demonstrate their knowledge of  course concepts as well as a chance to see public speaking in a context outside the classroom. It’s also another tool by which they can use the persuasive process—the paper itself is trying to make and prove a particular argument.



  • Use at least 4 different sources to support your points.
  • Resources should be abundant through the internet and through the library.
  • Library resources have been set aside for this project, so please use them!
  • Some resources have also been loaded on line on our Canvas site.

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