Introduction - An American Frontier
J. F. Kennedy is explaining during his acceptance speech that new frontiers are awaiting and that the American people should be bold and above everything else, should not be scared by new challenges.
Places and forms of Power
- In this document, we are faced with the power of one man who intends to become the United States’ next president.
- This is a political speech, and in this speech, Kennedy must convince his audience to vote for him. This is the power of persuasion.
- Here, political power is mixed with the power of symbols. Kennedy uses symbols that are very important to the American people. He uses the frontier to justify the need for risks, sacrifices and so on.
The idea of Progress
- Throughout his speech, Kennedy uses several times the word « frontier ». It symbolizes the very idea of progress. It means that we mustn’t feel confortable with what we already have but we must be in constant need for something else. In other words, he says that in order to stay a powerful country, Americans must find their new challenges and face them.
- Kennedy symbolizes a complete new style of presidency which at that time was seen as progress.
Myths and Heroes
- Kennedy is using the famous myth of the frontier to justify the need for new challenges, whatever the cost.
- He may appear to some as a new political hero since he is breaking with a long tradition of presidents before him.
- He may be seen as a classical hero since he represents power. He will be followed by millions and he will fight for his country. Of course, this vision may vary depending on the political views.
Space and Exchange
- This moment is a speech so it symbolizes the moment politicians exchange with their nation. This is the moment the candidate Kennedy shares his vision of what the USA should do in the next decade.
- The concept of the « Frontier » is used many times in his speech which symbolizes the crossing of a new space but it’s not only geographical but also metaphorical. Frontiers are actually the new challenges the nation will need to confront.