Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the 32nd president of the United States of America. He served an unprecedented four terms in office and delivered four inaugural speeches. He set himself up for success in his first inaugural address, claiming, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” This famous passage, among others in FDR’s first inaugural address, worked as rhetorical maneuvers meant to both introduce FDR to the presidency as well as leave a lasting impression on the citizens of the United States facing hardship due to the Great Depression. Through the application of Lloyd Bitzer’s “rhetorical situation,” Edward Corbett and Robert Connors’ definitions of stylistic devices and Karlyn Campbell, Kathleen Jamieson and Elizabeth Dudash’s genre requirements, this paper works to rhetorically examine FDR’s first inaugural address.