Free «Critique of President Obama’s State of the Union Address» Essay Sample


Obama’s began his speech by commending the successes of military troops in ending Iraq war and the terrorists’ threat in America. From his opening remarks, he seems to offer justification for many developments in military as a point for his reelection. The listener is led to believe that, under his administration, American military has been able to free American society from war and terrorism threats. It is an undeniable fact that Barack Obama is an excellent orator. His opening remarks were very audible and firm. This could be confirmed by the immense applause that he receives from both sides of the congress.

From the beginning of the speech, he maintained a very serious look on his face which tends to portray the seriousness with which he delivers the speech. In referring to the teamwork, the selflessness and the courage of American troops, Obama is trying to urge the house of congress that it takes these three attributes to achieve success. He also pointed out that while American troops have succeeded, other institutions have let the country. He therefore cautions everyone to learn from the troops so as to see America succeeding as a nation. From the opening remarks, it becomes obvious that Obama’s theme in the speech is centered on hard work and responsibility.

The example of the military success lays the basis for the entire speech. He uses an analogy of the return of soldiers to appeal to the democrats and republican to unite and work together as a formidable force in reforming American nation. Obama urges the congress that making American a successful nation is a goal that is reachable by all means. He recalls the success story of American nation after World War II as an example to inspire the house in fostering hard work and determination among citizens of America. His tone conveys confidence and passion for the prosperity of American nation. He uses assertive language to stress his major points. For example, he says ‘think about American within our reach’. In this statement, he increases his volume to ensure that the point sinks to all his audience. His firmness and determination are also evident when he uses vocal variety in his assertion statement at in the third minute of his speech where he says, “we can do this”. He gives a historical account of how the early Americans progress their economy by determination and hard work. The combats that came from World War II learnt that the strength of American economy relied on the efforts. History repeats itself. The message of Obama to the congress is that they should learn from historical heroes who did all they could to change the face of their nation both economically and politically. He stresses on equality among all which is dependent on whether every America bears the responsibility of working hard to improve their lives. It is worth noting that while posing a challenge to the house as well as to the citizens, he increases the volume of his speech.

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Content Analysis

The speech is loaded with many issues that are affecting American society. Obama begins by acknowledging the steps made by US military in enhancing security within the country and its surroundings. He also affirms the fact that the country has overcome the fear of terrorists’ attacks. As he commences his speech, he gives an account of the American economic history before he took office as president in 2008. He said that jobs had been taken to overseas and this was the main cause of joblessness, low income and wages among Americans. In addressing joblessness, Obama has urged local manufacturers and business to focus on insourcing jobs rather than outsourcing. In his bid to lure manufacturers, he makes a declaration that manufacturers who endeavor to create jobs shall receive government funding as well as tax exemptions. In other words, he is betting for a revival in American manufacturing by appealing to public investors in various sectors such as infrastructure and energy. He also called for improvement in training, basic research and education. While acknowledging that globalization is inevitable, he affirmed that American will not agree to be victimized by unfair trade practices. Furthermore, he made a declaration that he shall create Trade Enforcement Unit which shall be charged with responsibility of investigating unfair trade practices by any foreign trade partner, especially China.

Obama’s speech shows his endeavor to foster equality among all by ensuring that everyone gets equal opportunity and are judged by similar set of rules.” In order to achieve this, he advocate for tax reforms that will ensure everyone with more than $1 million earnings annually pays at least 30% tax.

Historical Analysis

Obama begins his speech by addressing the historical occurrence in America. One of the most profound events is historical victory over Iraq war. He gives honor to the militants who fought to bring peace and security to America even at the risk of their lives. In his opening remarks, he cites the major historical achievements such as the death of Osama Bin Laden, the end of Iraq war, the defeat of top Al Qaeda’s lieutenants as well the reduction of Taliban force.

He offers a historical account of how team work has helped to achieve economic prosperity. For instance, the generation after World War II worked together to build the strongest economy and middle class ever known worldwide. Obama also gives an account of his grandfather and grandmother who worked so hard and together they were able to build the economy of America after recession. He specifically states that they contributed into making America triumphant after depression period.

Obama provides a historical account of America before and after he took office. He started by addressing the productivity of American in highlighting the many industries that collapsed before his reign and has been resuscitated. He uses historical accounts to bring the possibility of change in American manufacturing industry. It is remarkable that after every historical account, Obama makes a proclamation to the audience. He stresses his point by making annunciations after every point. For instance, he challenges the businessmen to arise to the occasion in boosting the manufacturing industry by endeavoring to create more jobs.

Political Analysis

Though much of the speech was centered on economic issue, Obama also hinted on the influence of politics and money in determining the economic progress of the country. He explicitly affirmed that despite the partisan views on taxes, health and debts; it was paramount that the congress works as an entity to ensure economic progress of America. He further says that nothing will be done for the economy if people engage in politics rather than development agendas. He reiterates that the setback to the economic growth originates from issues that can be well managed by the congress. Obama points out that the influence of money and politics have eroded major economic agenda. He was advocating for a bill that would bar insider trading by congress members.  Obama further advocates that congress members should be limited from owning stocks in industries of their impact. However, he acknowledges that this idea will not receive the support of all parties. He strongly criticizes political parties for clinging on perpetual campaign of destroying one another. Obama posed a challenge to political parties to stop holding to rigid ideologies but rather seek consensus based on common issues. He affirms that no party can be exempted from bad politics and called upon all parties to work together.

Obama acknowledges that Republican Party has often opposed government spending but at the same time have support other government projects such as clean energy projects and infrastructural development. He appealed to political parties to advocate for economic growth of the country and less of their philosophical differences. He was addressing unity when he began his speech since he referred to American troops as people who were not obsessed by their differences but were focused on a common goal and worked together. In other words, Obama is appealing to political parties to lay aside their difference and focus on building the economy of the nation. He believes that working together in unity will enable to achieve all their goals. In the Speech, he acknowledges the need for reforms in both Congress and the executive branch of the government.


Throughout the speech, he strongly advocates for a common purpose, fairness and collective action. In his closing remarks, he goes back to the analogy of military troops. He compares America congress to military troops. Just like militants who are more concerned with the mission at hand rather than their racial or political differences, so does the president urges all parties to lay off their political differences and work as united force in transforming America.

It is undeniable that very few people can deliver a powerful speech as Obama. The oratory skills of Obama make the speech very appealing. At every important point, he actively engaged the audience. He often gave space for the audience to applause. This shows that he had excellent communication skills. Obama is by all means talented in delivering a message that can reach people of all party lines.


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