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The Effective Use of Repetition and Inclusive Pronouns in The Yes We Can Speech of Barack Obama

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Following his defeat at the New Hampshire primaries in 2008 against Hillary Clinton, Obama delivered his famous ‘Yes We Can’ speech to thousands of his disheartened supporters and still undecided American voters. Instead of focusing on his loss of the New Hampshire primaries, Obama focused his speech on inspiring hope in the hearts of American voters who longed for a change in the political dynamic of the country. By acknowledging and addressing the unique concerns and struggles of all different demographics of American citizens, he was able to unite them under a common cause instead of dividing voters by focusing on special interest groups. Obama used a great deal of repetition to drive his message of teamwork and hope in addition to using deeply embedded metaphors to explain the current state of America. While this speech was heavy on the emotional side of appeals, Obama was able to increase it’s effectiveness by expressing authority and credibility in his undoubted potential to be one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

American’s are born with the right to a government that caters to the needs and desires of the people. With a majority of American citizens unsatisfied with the strong division of parties and disagreeable nature of oppositions, Obama recognized their desire for change in the dynamic of American politics and the need to unite citizens under a common cause: hope. Throughout his speech, Obama used repetition to urge that “there is something happening in America.” At this time, citizens were finally stepping outside of their political comfort zone to stand up against the elements of government that they were dissatisfied with. For years the government’s party system had been plaguing Washington and Obama recognized that the Americans he needed to appeal to were “tired of the division and distraction that clouded Washington.” Due to the gridlock between Democrats and Republicans, the government had lost its effectiveness and nothing could be passed in a time efficient manner, negatively impacting millions of Americans. Regardless of their political alignment in our two party system, those who heard Obama’s message of hope would “vote not just for the party they belong to, but for the hopes that they hold in common.”

Despite the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting Obama, great support does not come without great opposition. “We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics” Obama stated. He used the metaphor of “a chorus of cynics” to express that just like a chorus, criticism and doubt echoes through the country when a task begins to seem impossible. “Our new majority can end tax breaks for corporations… and free this nation from the tyranny of oil.” Major corporations control a large part of American politics by endorsing candidates that align with their personal agenda which makes the task of restricting their influence nearly impossible. Although calling these companies out and promising to restrict their control on politics was a risky and potentially campaign ending move, knowing that it would encourage American voters to speak up and participate in the effort pushed Obama to state these ideals in his speech.

Though not every American voter ended up supporting Obama, it is undeniable that Obama’s campaign message had the ability to include all Americans. The repetition of his slogan “Yes, We Can” and inclusive pronouns such as “we, our, and us” drove his message of inclusion and recognition of all Americans, regardless of their lifestyle, demographic, or class. Obama inspired a sense of teamwork and togetherness as he said, “we are not divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.” America was founded on the belief that all of us are in this together and that every citizen is our fellow American. Hundreds of years later, Obama was able to restate this in a way that would touch the hearts of nearly everyone who heard his speech. By bringing America together under the promise of hope, Obama was able to create a campaign that everyone could agree with which ultimately, helped him win the presidency.

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The Effective Use of Repetition and Inclusive Pronouns in the Yes We Can Speech of Barack Obama. (2018, October 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from
“The Effective Use of Repetition and Inclusive Pronouns in the Yes We Can Speech of Barack Obama.” GradesFixer, 17 Oct. 2018,
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