Rhetorical Analysis: The Original Meanings of the American Dream and America First

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your discussion here is hard to follow– it is not balanced; the first 1/3 of the essay, including the v impt intro and thesis, are very vague and say very little of substance about the article… then the STR/ORG of the rest of the essay needs work bec it is not easy to follow; you need to revise for these items and to watch out for them in your future essays
name the article title in your intro in the first sentence
“and a public understanding”?
“discusses” repetition
intro: what is your thesis? what does your essay work to show?
spell out 7–10
Pls explain point about historical context at end of body par 1; show more of the logical presentation of historical facts as they pertain to the topics; this par needs more development and concrete examples explained as working in her text
don’t start new par with “as a result”– too abrupt; this par also needs development; connect audience back to overall review of this article and logos?
same for “on the other hand”– to abrupt
STR/ORG is confusing: why purposes again?
“underlying argument” is not shown
STR/ORG “the overall argument of the article” should have been the first point in the essay; this information and the points about it that follow are not connected to earlier points about logos, etc
There should be no new information in the conclusion; move to body and connect to content
you are missing quotes in “Therefore” par, yes?
I don’t follow the “concern” point
refer to author by last name only
WC style is not correct


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Rhetorical Analysis: The Original Meanings of the American Dream and America First

The article under analysis is “The Original Meanings of the “American Dream” and “America First” Were Starkly Different From How We Use Them Today,” authored by Anna Diamond, published in the Smithsonian Magazine in 2018. The author traces the historical meaning of the slogans’ American Dream’ and ‘America First, ‘establishing how their initial meanings have evolved in the contemporary world and how they fit together (Diamond). The author argues that there has been misunderstanding surrounding the “American Dream” slogan, a racist connotation surrounding the “America First” slogan and that both slogans have been intertwined with capitalism, democracy, and race. The article integrates an emotional, ethical, logical appeal to persuade the target audience, uses observation, and historical facts from research as evidence, and incorporates facts and value claims to make an effective argument.

When tracing the history and evolution of the two slogans, their meaning, and perception among Americans, Diamond concludes that the initial meaning has changed. For instance, Woodrow Wilson used “America First” nationally in 1915 for neutrality in WWI; today, the president has used the slogan to mean isolationism. Supporting this claim, the author has used historical facts, including historical dates, a timeline from “extensive research,” and an observation of the meaning difference between the two U.S presidents (Diamond). This claim becomes more persuasive to readers as they understand the evolution of the slogans through a timeline, and the logical appeal of coming to such a conclusion is clearly defined.

When tracing the evolution and changed meaning of the “American Dream” slogan, Diamond argues it changed from a focus on “principles of liberal democracy, a dream of equality, justice and democracy for the nation to a dream of individual wealth.” (Diamond). This is an example of a value claim highlighting the changed moral perception and belief of the slogan. The author asserts a moral change that distinguishes good from the bad, which establishes an ethical appeal. This maximizes persuasion and invokes increased interest to read and understand more of the author’s content.

Diamond concludes by cautioning her readers to use the newly acquired information as deliverance from constricting thoughts such as the racial and isolationism connotations attached to the “America First” slogan and consumerism connotation attached to the “American Dream” slogan, which acts as an emotional attempt and appeal to persuade readers on the primary purpose of the article (Diamond).

In conclusion, the author’s content is easy to read due to the thematic organization and analysis of each slogan and its changed meaning. Moreover, the argument techniques integrated makes the content provide an effective argument.



Work Cited

Diamond, Anna. “The Original Meanings of the “American Dream” and “America First” Were Starkly Different From How We Use Them Today.” SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE October 2018: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/behold-america-american-dream-slogan-book-sarah-churchwell-180970311/.



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