As you read the passage below, consider how President Truman uses
1, evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
2, reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
3, stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
Adapted from President Harry S. Truman's Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union, January 7, 1948, Washington, DC.
1 We are here today to consider the state of the Union. On this occasion, above all others, the Congress and the President should concentrate their attention, not upon party but upon the country; not upon things which divide us but upon those which bind us together-the enduring principles of our American system, and our common aspirations for the future welfare and security of the people of the United States. 2 The United States has become great because we, as a people, have been able to work together for great objectives even while differing about details.... 3 The United States has always had a deep concern for human rights. Religious freedom, free speech, and freedom of thought are cherished realities in our land. Any denial of human rights is a denial of the basic beliefs of democracy and of our regard for the worth of each individual. 4 Today, however, some of our citizens are still denied equal opportunity for education. for jobs and economic advancement, and for the expression of their views at the polls. Most serious of all, some are denied equal protection under laws. Whether discrimination is based on race, or creed, or color, or land of origin, it is utterly contrary to American ideals of democracy. 5 The recent report of the President's Committee on Civil Rights points the way to corrective action by the federal government and by state and local governments. Because of the need for effective federal action, I shall send a special message to the Congress on this important subject.... 6 Our second goal is to protect and develop our human resources. The safeguarding of the rights of our citizens must be accompanied by an equal regard for their opportunities for development and their protection from economic insecurity. In this Nation the ideals of freedom and equality can be given specific meaning in terms of health, education, social security, and housing. 7 Over the past twelve years we have erected a sound framework of Social Security legislation. Many millions of our citizens are now protected against the loss of income which can come with unemployment, old age, or the death of wage earners. Yet our system has gaps and inconsistencies; it is only half finished. 8 We should now extend unemployment compensation, old age benefits, and survivors' benefits to millions who are not now protected. We should also raise the level of benefits. 9 The greatest gap in our Social Security structure is the lack of adequate provision for the Nation's health. We are rightly proud of the high standards of medical care we know how to provide in the United States. The fact is, however, that most of our people cannot afford to pay for the care they need... . 10 Another fundamental aim of our democracy is to provide an adequate education for every person. 11 Our educational systems face a financial crisis. It is deplorable that in a Nation as rich as ours there are millions of children who do not have adequate schoolhouses or enough teachers for a good elementary or secondary education. If there are educational inadequacies in any State, the whole Nation suffers. The Federal Government has a responsibility for providing financial aid to meet this crisis. 12 In addition, we must make possible greater equality of opportunity to all our citizens for education. Only by so doing can we insure that our citizens will be capable of understanding and sharing the responsibilities of democracy. 13 The Government's programs for health, education, and security are of such great importance to our democracy that we should now establish an executive department for their administration.... 14 Our third goal is to conserve and use our natural resources so that they can contribute most effectively to the welfare of our people. 15 The resources given by nature to this country are rich and extensive. The material foundations of our growth and economic development are the bounty of our fields, the wealth of our mines and forests, and the energy of our waters. As a Nation, we are coming to appreciate more each day the close relationship between the conservation of these resources and the preservation of our national strength. 16 We are doing far less than we know how to do to make use of our resources without destroying them. Both the public and private use of these resources must have the primary objective of maintaining and increasing these basic supports for an expanding future.
Write an essay in which you explain how President Truman builds an argument to persuade his audience that continued investment in the nation's collective welfare is based on the ideals of American democracy. In your essay, analyze how he uses one or more of the features listed in the box that precedes the passage (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.
Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Truman's claims, but rather explain how he builds an argument to persuade his audience.
The State of the Union differs year to year in that each president speaks in a distinctive style while outlining specific policy proposals he or she would like to see enacted into law. However, all of the speeches probably have one thing in common: Any proposals the president makes are almost always connected to an emotional appeal based on American values such as freedom and opportunity. President Truman's 1948 State of the Union address was no exception. In the speech, he offers his Ideas for social security, health care, education, and preservation of our natural resources. But he frames all of his ideas within one common narrative: The American Ideals of democracy insist on the continued investment in the collective welfare and security of our citizens.
Truman's first goal Is to convince Congress that investing in the nation's collective welfare is nothing less than ensuring that the essential human rights of U.S. citizens are met, He begins his speech In general terms by asking Congress to focus on the common aspirations they have for American citizens, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This is an effective way to begin, because It allows him to establish common ground with his political opponents. After all, who doesn't believe in freedom? He then says what is probably the most important line of the speech: Any denial of human rights is a denial of the basic beliefs of democracy and of our regard for the worth of each individual' He strengthens his position with the evidence that "some of our citizens are still denied equal opportunity for education, for jobs and economic advancement, and for the expression of their views at the polls,' as well as equal protection under the law. This Is a direct appeal to emotion, and It sets the tone for the rest of his speech because he continually equates the "right' of citizens to economic security and equality of opportunity with government investment In what he terms "human resources.'
President Truman now makes the argument that to protect human freedoms, we must invest in human resources by Improving the nation's social security, health, and education. He explains that further Investment in social security programs. including unemployment compensation and old age benefits, would best ensure the economic security of Americans. President Truman argues that affordable health care is needed to protect peoples economic security as well, reasoning that good doctors are of no use If you can't afford them, thereby making the implicit point that people who are sick suffer wage and Job loss.
He then turns to education, using the powerful phrase 'equality of opportunity' to argue that our democracy
would be strengthened with better educated citizens. He also notes his concern for the educational inequalities that existed at that time between states, arguing, “If there are educational inadequacies in any state, the whole nation suffers.' He mentions this in order to strengthen his argument for the federal government to help provide equitable reform throughout the nation.
President Truman uses similar language to discuss his goal of more thoughtful use and conservation of fields, forests, and mines, arguing that these 'natural resources" are In need of the same investment and protection that we give to our 'human resources' His rationale is based on a simple argument: Natural resources are essential to the nation's "growth and economic development" He argues for a good balance between conservation and use of our natural resources, and again turns to emotional appeals while doing so. He uses phrases such as 'preservation of our national strength' and "an expanding future" to connect better use of natural resources with national pride and security.
Throughout his speech, President Truman continually ties his proposals to the essential ideals of our great nation. The speech makes It clear that he firmly believes our democracy Is only as strong as the collective welfare of Its citizens. He argues that the preservation of our democracy requires nothing less than continued investment in our human and natural resources, and that the values upon which our democracy is based actually demand such Investment to ensure equality of freedom and opportunity. An appeal to emotion using such powerful words as "freedom. "opportunity, and 'democracy" leaves the members of Congress, and the American public. with little room to argue against him.