Analysis Of Margaret Thatcher's Speech For Ronald Reagan


Presenting a speech about a person who recently passed away who was cared for deeply by many is difficult, but this didn’t stop Margaret Thatcher when she gave an impactful speech about Ronald Reagan after he had passed. Consequently, Margaret Thatcher applied many rhetorical strategies such as the use of historical examples, instances of pathos appeal, and an appreciative tone to justify her message.

Throughout the entire text, Thatcher refers back to multiple examples that occurred throughout Reagen’s presidency. One of these events that took place at the time, was the Cold War and Russia’s relation to Communism. During his presidency, the American economy was impacted heavily. Thatcher explains Reagan’s actions,“He turned a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity” (lines 33-34). This, shows that Thatcher appreciated her colleague and was trying to shed light on the president’s legacy to not only the attendants of the funeral but the American people in general. Additionally, Margaret Thatcher bases one of her claims off of Arnold Bennett, an English author, who once said,“The great cause of cheering us all up” (12). Through this, she spoke out about how he embodied these words and, in more detail, his policies and optimism that allowed for people, internationally, to support him like herself. Margaret Thatcher uses the connection of a quote from nearly a century ago to provide emphasis to the message that Reagan was an exceptional president and a great man. She broadened on what she was expressing and then narrowed down to specific examples that Reagan had accomplished in his presidency that had the attribute of the quote. 

Moreover, Margaret Thatcher frequently utilized pathos appeal throughout her speech to describe what Ronald Reagan was like and how his actions were perceived by others. The first sentence that Thatcher chose to use in her speech was,“We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man, and I have lost a dear friend” (1-2). The first words of a speech are crucial because it sets up what the speech is about and what the tone is. Thatcher uses this sympathetic pathos appeal to set the basis for her speech; this allows for a relationship to build between the listener and the speaker, and the audience feels the same emotion of appreciativeness towards Ronald Reagan which improves her claims. Additionally, at the end of the speech, Thatcher concluded with a final statement that resonated well with the audience and completes it in a sentimental way. She went on to mention,“He and they loved America and what it stands for: freedom and opportunity for ordinary people” (96-98). When she says “they,” she is referencing the American people and how they were unified with him in his endeavors. This results in the audience--which is the American public--to connect with what Thatcher is saying and agree with her points because of her sympatheitc pathos appeal. It allows the listener to think back to when Reagan was president and remember the good that he did for America like some of the examples that Margaret Thatcher listed to support her message. 

Finally, Margaret Thatcher uses an appreciative tone throughout her entire speech to try and convey her claims to the audience better. On many occasions, she brings in her own opinion when talking about Reagan and his own qualities or his actions during his two terms as president. For example, she explained,“He had firm principles and, I believe, right ones” (59-60). She wanted to show her admiration toward Reagan as a president and as a friend to highlight their relationship as well as the stable connection between the two allied nations. Thatcher wanted to make sure that Americans realized that both America and the UK had lost a nobleman. In order to accomplish this, she had to have had a tone that was emotional yet informative and assuring. This is why she had an appreciative attitude that complimented Reagan with his achievements and mindset but one that also signified that the country had lost a significant figure, valued by many. Using this approach, she was able to give reassurance to the American people and positive light on Reagan’s contribution and legacy to American history. Additionally, this appreciative tone ties into some of the historical examples that were listed in the speech. Margaret Thatcher goes into more detail by saying,“...they could confidently look to Washington for firm leadership, and when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding” (69-73). Thatcher continues to emphasize the impact that Reagan had during his time in office and how special he and his presidency was. This is exactly what would be described as an appreciative tone. Since she was speaking so highly of Ronald Reagan, the listeners would assume that Thatcher and the former president had adequate relations with each other; this also highlights the alliance between America and England because she was British, and she represents her country, thus, completes her goal of trying to show Reagan in a positive light and pay tribute to his legacy while illustrating the association between the two allied nations. 

In conclusion, not only did Margaret Thatcher lose a dear friend but America lost a resilient president who fought for their country, and she was able to successfully show this in the eulogy. She provided many rhetorical strategies such as the use of many historical examples, instances of pathos appeal, and an appreciative tone to convey her message effectively.

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