Subject Public Speaking Public Speaking - Other


Analyze the rhetorical situation in Ronald Regan's address to the nation on the mid-launch explosion of the Challenger space shuttle on January 28, 1986.

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On 28 January 1986, President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation from the White House Oval Office on the destruction of the Challenger spacecraft and the death of its seven-person crew. Mr. Reagan had originally planned to give his State of the Union Address that night, but according to Time, “Leaders on Capitol Hill,” had “sensed the incongruity of an upbeat national address at such a time” and convinced the president to postpone the speech (Magnuson 1986). While Regan argues in his speech that the space program must continue despite the death and destruction of the Challenger and its crew, it fails to be a fitting response to the rhetorical situation because he uses the constraints of major national space flight disaster to not mourn the death of the astronauts but to build a larger argument that Americans must continue their exploration into space....

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