George W. Bush’s Address to Congress

George W. Bush’s address to Congress on September 20th, 2001 is an interesting piece of public address because of the way it approached the difficult  and unique constraints of the situation.  Whether or not you agree with his politics, it is tough to argue that he does not present an effective display of public address.  The mere fact that he is speaking on the events of September 11th so shortly after the events of that day already guarantee that he has the attention of the entire nation, and indeed much of the world.  Monroe’s Motivated Sequence also plays a significant role here.  He establishes the need for the dissolution of terrorist organizations and training  camps by tugging at the heart strings of the American people, insinuating how such things challenge not only their way of life but also the types of freedoms the world over that America values so much.  Furthermore, he develops a great deal of credibility as he forms a bond with the American people, writing not only as their president and leader, but also as a father and son just like them, someone who values the same things they do.

Bush also outlines a solution but goes even further in providing persuasive reasoning as to why that solution is not only the best one, but a necessity.  In speaking to the Taliban, and more generally the terrorist world as a whole, he creates an Us vs. Them mentality that proves to be incredibly persuasive (again, whatever you think of his policies or the war in Iraq, the War on Terror was incredibly popular among the American people at its outset).  Finally, he institutes a call to action, not just for the American military in preparation to fight but also the the general populace: trust in the economy, live your lives.  The way in which he is speaks carries the idea of an exercise of force not just to the military but to the common citizen as well. It was also particularly needed in this situation, when America needed both comfort and a sense of direction.


Jake Lewing


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