George Wallace Rhetorical Analysis: A Segregationist

In his 1963 Inaugural Address, Governor George Wallace Of Alabama uses his position as Governor, his knowledge of the Alabama crowd, along with his strong speaking skills, and his use of his own logic on segregation in order to bring forth his message of the continuation of segregation to the Alabama crowd.

In George Wallace’s Speech to the Alabama crowd, he begins by first creating a level of comradery with the crowd. ” I want to thank those home folks of my county who first gave an anxious country boy his opportunity to serve in State politics.”(pg.1) He establishes to the crowd he can understand and relate to them well enough to start off by giving thanks. By using this way to address the crowd he creates a welcoming atmosphere that draws in the viewer right away before he dives into his speech on segregation. Following this, at the end of the page, he remarks:” I hope you’ll forgive me these few moments of remembering… but I wanted them.. and you.. to know, that I shall never forget.”. He not only thanks, those not present but the crowd in front of him. He also adds in an extra factor and that is letting the people know who voted him into power that he will also never forget them. His uses of addressing the crowd and knowing the audience at the very start of his speech allow for him to not only carry out the speech but get the audience fully engaged in him.

Following the start of his speech, Governor Wallace brings his position in as governor in right away. ” This is the day of my Inauguration as Governor of the State of Alabama. And on this day I feel a deep obligation to renew my pledges, my covenants with you… the people of this great state.” This start to his speech establishes multiple things to the audience not only is he making a point to lay out his position but he also uses the chance to use words such as “obligation” and “pledges”. This uses of language strengthen his position as Governor. This allows for the audiences to feel trust in him but also in his position. He is stating to them that he has a plan for them and he is in no way going to forget about it but instead make a point of enforcing and keeping to the promises he made to these people. He then goes on in a later paragraph to list off the things he has promised to the people and also plans to keep and enforce. “I have said to you that I would eliminate the liquor agents… I shall fulfill my duty in working hard to bring industry into our state…”. Altogether his use of these statements solidifies his position as Governor and makes the crowd trust in him more. His position as Governor allows him to actually pass these rules so he is able to strengthen his position.

Throughout the rest of his speech, Governor Wallace uses his logic on segregation to make his ideas clear and concise to his audience. First of all during this time not only was segregation and integration enormous topics of discussion but also at times lead to the death of people all over the Nation. According to NPR, the level of segregationist and anti-segregationist tensions had risen. “: The year was 1963. Civil rights activists were fighting for equal access to schools and the voting booth, and the federal government was preparing to intervene in many Southern states.”. Even with this knowledge of intense segregation issues arising Governor Wallace put forth his own views on segregation.” I say… segregation now… segregation tomorrow… segregation forever.” This line carries an incredibly large weight that Governor Wallace had intended to present to his audience. He inserted this line well after he had given his thanks but still into the beginning of his speech so that is was able to have its effect on those in the crowd. His logic on segregation also was lined with the crowd he was speaking to which helps to tie back to his overarching point of segregation.

Governor George Wallace became the Governor of Alabama in 1963 and during his Inaugural Address to the people of Alabama, he gives his thanks and his appreciation to them for appointing him into power. However, to get to his goal of implementing pro-segregationist beliefs he uses his power as governor, his logic of segregation and his strong language and speaking skills to get his point to his audience about the need for continued segregation in the state of Alabama.
All Things Considered. NPR,
segregation-forever-a-fiery-pledge-forgiven-but-not-forgotten. Accessed 10
Jan. 2013.
History. 14 Jan. 2017,
george-wallace-inaugurated-as-alabama-governor. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.



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