Rhetorical Devices in Political Speeches

This Rhetorical Devices in Political Speeches handout & reference also includes:

Have you ever watched a political speech and felt your heart beat a little faster, and your opinion either solidify or begin to slightly change? Rhetorical devices can be a strong tool in an effective and powerful speech. A short lesson introduces a few of the elements found in speeches and written arguments, including anaphora, alliteration, and rhetorical questions, and prompts young citizens to write their own example of each device.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Show a video or audio clip of famous political speeches in history, including speeches made by Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King, Jr., along with transcripts; work with class members to identify the devices they find in each speech and how effective each statement is
  • Have learners write their own political speech about an issue that is important to them using one or more of the rhetorical devices listed in the lesson
Classroom Considerations

  • Designed for ninth and tenth grade, but applicable for older or younger classes as well
  • Consider adding more devices for advanced classes to decipher
Pros

  • Encourages individuals to apply terms they may have seen in a literature context to rhetorical writing and speaking
  • Provides a helpful reference sheet and list of additional resources to teach rhetorical devices
Cons

  • None