Richard Nixon Resignation Speech

vukomora's version from 2017-02-03 22:50


Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Lou Gehrig, John and Ron Kennedy. Great leaders usually mean great speeches. Many have impacted the world in great ways, making life a better thing. Some leaders make bad decisions. Those decisions cause trust between leader and subjects to be lost, faith in people destroyed, and anger stirred up. Anger at leaders usually causes them to withdraw from their position of power. President Richard Nixon made a bad decision. He sent Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, aka CREEP, to bug the Watergate Headquarters of the Democratic Committee and steal copies of top-secret documents. Once the police caught them, the media found out, namely Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Nixon knew the people would not be happy. He also knew that if he didn’t resign, he would be impeached or put into prison. So, on August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon gave a speech saying that he would be stepping down from office. Much of America was not convinced of the sincerity of his speech. The plurality of American experts thought his resignation speech was ineffective because he denied his true reason for his resignation, he failed to deliver strongly logos ethos and pathos, and he didn’t draw the attention of the audience.
Richard Nixon said that he was resigning because he “didn’t have a strong enough political base in congress (Nixon).” That was actually quite true. No one trusted him, except the extremely devout republicans. In fact, Congress was talking about impeaching him. Nixon’s true reason for his resignation was the Watergate scandal. When CREEP stole the classified documents and bugged the room, Frank Willis was on guard. He was making his rounds, when he noticed a piece of duct tape on one of the doors, not letting it latch shut. He took it off and kept going. When he came back later, another piece was there. He immediately called the police. They arrived just in time to catch the crooks red-handed. Word spread like wildfire that some of Nixon’s most trusted employees were involved in a high-stakes criminal break-in. Nixon and the government immediately quieted the situation. Although, the media smelled a good story. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein emerged as two of the most famous reporters in the 70’s. They discovered many of the key players involved in the Watergate scandal. Carl and Bob were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their efforts. Because of their discoveries, many advisers, CREEP representatives, and cabinet members of Nixon were forced to resign. Some were even sentenced to prison. All of this happened because Nixon wanted to ensure that he would be re-elected as president. Essentially, Nixon was looking out for himself, not for the good of the people. Nixon actually says that he “must put the interest of America first (Nixon).” If this were true, he would let the people elect the president on their own. Nixon would have had a much better speech had he admitted to the break-in. But instead, he denies it. His speech got even worse with the poor effort at logos ethos and pathos.
Nixon tried quite hard at ethos. Since he had served a full term as president before, he thought he should mention this throughout his speech. Although, many people lost all faith in him because of the break in. Think about it, would you still trust a friend or someone close to you if you had found out they were stealing highly classified documents, and then bugging someone's office? I would honestly never want to see them again. Nixon also looked ashamed for what he had done. As Kelly put it on his blog: “When I first viewed the speech as a casual audience member rather than a rhetorical analyzer, I immediately noticed President Nixon’s discomfort and nervous energy through his body language. He appeared stiff and rigid as he read from a paper instead of engaging with the audience in a conversational manner. I thought this to be quite peculiar since Nixon, President of the United States and leader of the free world, should automatically be able to appeal to ethos, right? Wrong (Kelly).” Logos was much easier for him. He told the audience that it was the 37th time he had spoken from his office which is actually quite impressive. But many of those times were after the Watergate scandal. Seventeen to be precise. And ten of those included him saying that he was not guilty of the Watergate scandal. He also reminded America that he had served for five and a half years. Many Americans probably regretted voting him into office. As for pathos, it was close to impossible for America to feel sorry for him. It would be like feeling sorry for a crime lord. No one felt sorry for him because of what he had done to their trust, especially those who voted for him. They were depending on him. Richard Nixon not only didn't provide either logos, ethos, or pathos, he also didn’t draw the attention of the audience.
Richard Nixon, the President of the United States of America, looked nervous during his speech. This, for sure, didn’t draw the attention of the audience. The President of one of the most powerful countries in the world should have some confidence when he speaks. Instead, it looked like was nervous because he had something to admit. Then, he tried to bring families into the conversation. He said that his family encouraged him to finish out his term. Since he was a conservative, he wanted to show his family values. But, he said that he wanted the American people to be as happy as possible, so he would resign. This may have worked amazingly, but he had lost all feeling from the audience. They just couldn’t relate the family of criminal to their own. Nixon also could have been more successful if he had used more literary devices. He only used two. Two literary devices are absolutely atrocious. One of the literary devices is repetition. I really don’t think that should count as a literary device, but it is. Then, Nixon used the second half of his speech as advice for Vice President Ford, the heir to the throne. Nixon should have saved that for a one-on-one talk with Ford, instead of broadcasting it to the nation. I think he was just trying to fill up his remaining time on TV.
Richard Nixon went down in history as the president that broke into the Watergate complex, was found out, and was forced to resign or risk being impeached and time in prison. There are some people that still think that he was a phenomenal president, as I discovered when I was researching Richard Nixon. But many people didn’t like him at all. As I said before, great leaders have great speeches. If a leader fails to perform the leadership role, they generally don’t make very good speeches. The reason for this I believe was because he denied his true reason for his resignation, he failed to deliver strongly logos ethos and pathos, and he didn’t draw the attention of the audience.