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This paper analyzes President Obama’s rhetoric in his two inaugural addresses in order to determine how his presidential rhetoric conforms and violates current rhetorical traditions in inaugural addresses. For this paper a rhetorical analysis of Obama’s addresses was performed using a form of genre criticism. The components for this genre criticism were drawn from Vanessa B. Beasley’s work on presidential rhetoric in her book You, the People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric. Results of this analysis will showed that President Obama’s presidential rhetoric is more secular than previous presidents and focuses more on shared American ideals. The results also illustrate that President Obama’s rhetoric is different in that he portrays immigration in a much more positive light, and portrays racial issues from a perspective that he never been possible for previous presidents.

The author's entry essay for the 2014 Undergraduate Research Awards is included.


Finalist, Junior/Senior category, 2014