1972–Nixon Acceptance Speech–Stephanie D’Anna
Speeches are an effective form of Presidential rhetoric in any campaign. In the 1972 Presidential election between George McGovern and Richard Nixon, there were many speeches given in hopes of persuading audiences to vote for them. The speech I am going to focus on is the Presidential Nomination of the Republican National Convention which was given by Richard Nixon on August 23, 1972 when he was nominated to run for a second term as President of the United States. The speech was broadcast live from Convention Hall in Miami Beach, Florida and shown and heard across the nation via radio and television.
Richard Nixon begins the speech by reminding the audience ,
four years ago, standing in this very place, I proudly accepted your nomination for President of the United States. With your help and with the votes of millions of Americans, we won a great victory in 1968. Tonight, I again proudly accept your nomination for President of the United States.
By using this introduction, Nixon reminds the audience that he is proud to serve as our nation’s leader and that he needs the help of Americans to win again. Telling them that he needs their help allows the audience to believe their vote has value and that their vote really matters.
He continues to thank or congratulate all the people that are a part of his platform that made his first victory, and chances for a second victory, possible. He also thanks his wife saying
I express my deep gratitude to this convention for the tribute you have paid to the best campaigner in the Nixon family-my wife Pat. In honoring her, you have honored millions of women in America who have contributed in the past and will contribute in the future so very much to better government in this country.
By thanking his wife, he connects with the women in America and shows them that their vote matters as well. Women might be more apt to vote for a man who takes time to thank his wife.
He says that American people have inspired him with their enthusiasm, their intelligence, and their dedication. Again, this lets the American people know that he appreciates their support. Although it is important to show gratitude towards his current supporters, the point of this speech is to win over the people that do not support him, he needs to win their vote. In an attempt to win over his non-supporters, Nixon asks everyone to vote not based on the party label they wear on their lapel, but on the basis of what they believe in their hearts. He specifically addresses new voters,
I pledge to you, all of the new voters in America who are listening on television and listening here in this convention hall, that I will do everything that I can over these next four years to make your support be one that you can be proud of, because as I said to you last night, and I feel it very deeply in my heart: Years from now I want you to look back and be able to say that your first vote was one of the best votes you ever cast in your life.
He identifies with the American people by saying things like ‘my fellow Americans,’ also by calling America “home” and stating that when he travels to other countries, he realizes how fortunate we are to live in this ‘great and good country.’
He addresses his successes in the past four years and he also discusses his goals for when he is re-elected. Towards the end of the speech, Nixon talks about a previous President, Abraham Lincoln. He brought up the Civil war between the states in our nation and quoted Abraham Lincoln when he was asked whether God was on his side. Lincoln replied, “my concern is not whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side.” Nixon hopes for this to remain America’s prayer forever. He says that with faith in God, ourselves, and our country we can meet any challenge we face as a nation.
In the end of the speech, Nixon then tries to relate to audience even more by telling the story of the ‘beautiful child’ named Tanya, whose grave he visited at a cemetery in Leningrad in the Soviet Union, the battlegrounds for World War II. He shares that he read her diary and her stories of how her whole family had died and she was the only one left still alive. He does this to show Americans he is interested in world peace that “our children and all the children of the world can enjoy for generations to come.” He is not interested in peace only in America, but in the world as a whole.
Overall, the purpose of Richard Nixon’s speech after being nominated for his second term, was to thank the people who had helped him get where he had gotten to date, and to win over his non-supporters. He wanted to show people that he was proud to be in the position he is in and that he is the most credible candidate for the position of President of the United States.