"Address to Congress" by Woodrow Wilson. Context around 1917

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2020

18 Pages

Abstract or Introduction

When Wilson turned to the Congress on the second of April in 1917, he aimed to announce that political agreements and the relation to Germany were under dire threats. Only four days later, on the sixth of April 1917, the United States passed a war resolution that declared the entry into the Great War. The war had already been ongoing since 1914, when America eventually joined in 1917, however, there was no end in sight. The entry of America caused a massive change in the course of the war, but, apart from this, the participation in the war marked a significant step towards the pursuit of world power in American history.

Wilson requested a declaration of war against Germany in his speech Address to Congress because only the congress was granted to declare war as the constitution from 1789 had determined. He was aware of the fact that the Government, the Congress as well as the whole nation was not in favour of a war those days. Therefore, he used genius methods and technical brilliance to convince the Congress to engage in the war. On the basis of his persuasive speech he achieved to change America's attitude towards the war.

Aristotle once formed an outline on how to master persuasion that is called symboleutikon and aims to give speakers a sort of framework for their speeches on the one hand. On the other hand, it defines concrete principles of how persuasiveness can be attained through speech. It consists of three major persuasive appeals called ethos, pathos and logos whose deployment is inevitable in persuasive communication.

According to Aristotle's outline, ethos is used to give insight in the speaker's credibility and reliability. Pathos refers to an appeal to emotion, to evoke emotion and to move the audience. His last term logos describes the use of reason, logic and the use of evidence.


"Address to Congress" by Woodrow Wilson. Context around 1917
University of Würzburg  (Philosophisches Institut - Amerikanische Literaturwissenschaft)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
america, american literature, literaturwissenschaft, bachelor, master, lehramt, philology, analysis, close reading, interpretation, woodrow, Wilson, woodrow wilson, Adress, congress, adress to congress, 1917, Zimmermann telegram, anti german sentiment, great war, imperialism, destroy this mad brute, enlist, school begins, uncle sam, partiotism, war, germany, history, declaration, aristotle, symoleutikon, president of the US, first world war, world war, 1914, 1918, theodore roosevelt, roosevelt
Quote paper
Dominik Höge (Author), 2020, "Address to Congress" by Woodrow Wilson. Context around 1917, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1481908


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