Albert Beveridge: The March of the Flag

  • Titel: Albert Beveridge: The March of the Flag
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-Analyse how Beveridge uses argumentative structure, language and stylistic devices to convince his audience of his arguments.-

The speech “The March of the Flag” was delivered by Albert Beveridge as a campaign speech on September 16, 1898.
Beveridge tries to convince his audience of the United States' legitimacy to have a dominant position in the world.

The speech is structured very clearly and convincingly.
Beveridge starts with the glorification of America – the country, it's people and it's history.
In the following part he proclaims the “March of the flag” as a slogan of American expansionism.
Then he takes a look at the future and the tasks that need to be fulfilled to achieve democracy and freedom for the world.
Finally Beveridge points out that the Americans are led by God to fulfil their duty.

Beveridge uses specific stylistic devices to persuade his audience. So for example to glorify America: “It is a...” (l. 1, l. 7, l. 15) – he makes use of anaphora – at the beginning of the paragraphs, which is followed by the keywords “noble land” (l. 1), “mighty people” (l.7) and “glorious history” (l. 15).
In the first paragraph, in which Beveridge glorifies the country, he makes the abstract concept of the country tangible for his audience with a personification (“a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coastlines would inclose half the countries of Europe”, ll. 1-4). He stresses the importance of the country as a guard between the major oceans of the world by a simile (“a land set by a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe” ll. 4f.).

In the fourth paragraph, in which Beveridge proclaims the March of the Flag as a slogan of American expansionism, he initiates a climax, which he uses to clarify the global importance of the expansion as a national issue, which is more important than party-policy (“...the question is larger than a party question. It is an American question. It is a world question.”, ll. 29 ff.).
In addition Beveridge asks rhetorical questions to get support for his policy (ll. 31-36).
To draw the attention of his audience to the historical dimension of expansionism, he uses an incomplete exclamation (l. 37). “The march of the flag” is the key expression of Beveridge's speech. He refers to it in order to get legitimacy for his imperialistic aims and because it symbolises land, organisation and community of the United States.

In the last paragraph, in which Beveridge legitimates American imperialism by relying on the religious argument that the Americans are guided by God to fulfil their duty, he uses inclusive pronouns to achieve the listeners' identification with his arguments (e.g. ll. 62, 64f. 69f.).
The last two sentences start with an anaphora (“We can not”, ll. 74, 77) , which is used to affirm the argument that it is a duty to bring democracy and freedom to the world.



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