1 Dixon

Samantha Dixon
Professor Vyvial
English 1302
The speech That Changed One Man’s Future Forever.
There is always a reason as to why someone sides the way that he or she does on different

issues. Sometimes it is easy, to determine and other times it is hard to know. “A Time for

Choosing,” also known as “the speech,” was the turning point that kick-started Reagan’s political

race. The speech was not even meant for Reagan; it was meant for Barry Goldwater, who was the

Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential elections at the time, though, Reagan was

originally a Democrat turned Republican. A Time for Choosing was given on October 27th, 1964

during a prerecorded television show. The speech lead to Reagan commonly being known as

“The Great Communicator”. Although the speech is widely used today in different versions, the

speech was not helpful enough to win Mr. Goldwater, the election that year, though it did open

doors for Reagan since he ran in 1966 for governor of California and then later for president.

With Ronald Reagan’s speech, “A Time for Choosing,” he effectively gets the message of the

Republican Party across using pathos, logos, sarcasm, and repetition.
Ronald Reagan uses pathos to show how he stood on the different issues that were

brought up during the speech. He uses it for several different topics, but for all the same reason.

He wants to show the people of America that there is an issue that needs to be solved. Within the

first page of the speech, Reagan says the following phrase that would probably hit close to home

for a lot of people: “No real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the

rest of us.” He uses this rhetoric to really dive into the issues. Reagan also talks about a

conversation that was exchanged between some of his friends with a Cuban man: “If we lose

freedom here, there’s no place to escape to.” This is to say that, if no one stands up for the

country and tries to fix it, then there will not be anything to save. Over the course of the speech,
2 Dixon

the pathos that Reagan speaks about ranges from peace to poverty and judgement. With every

topic that he covers throughout the speech, each has evidence to back it up to make them

important to the people who are listening in 1964 and across the years. Reagan finishes his use of

pathos by saying something that pulls at the hearts of a lot of individuals that have children who

are growing up in this world. He tells the people, “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last

best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of

darkness” (Reagan). By saying this, he is trying to light a flame in families to fight to make this

country better for the children.
Ronald Reagan uses logos in the speech to allow people to see and understand what is

going on. It does not take long for Reagan to bring up some of the facts of what is going on in

the United States that needs to be fixed. He brings ups how “no nation has ever survived a tax

burden” and how “37 cents out of every dollar…is the tax collector share” (Reagan). He says this

because he wants to let the American people where we stand on money. On top of that he

mentions about the gold treasury, where he says, “We have 15 billion dollars in gold… we don’t

own an ounce” (Reagan). All this is brought to the attention to show how much the money issue

has gone downhill. Reagan, a little later also mentions how the government “takes from the

needy and gives to the greedy” (Reagan). This is spoken because he wants to explain to the

people just what is going on in the nation. He also switches gears to move into talking about the

issues surrounding welfare. He goes on to talk about how the program makes “45 billion

dollars”, but does not seem to care to provide for the families in poverty. Reagan finds that when

he does the math to find that the government can “give each family $4,600 yearly” though they

are getting “$600 per a family” (Reagan). Reagan brings all these issues up to show the

American people what needs to be fixed and worked on. He wants to make the American people

see what is going on and rile them up enough to make a change happen.
3 Dixon

In such an important speech, it seems unreal to know that Reagan uses sarcasm when

referring to something that the government is doing to try and “help”. He first uses sarcasm when

referring to how the government wanted to add more money to another program that is not any

different than the programs that are already in existent. He uses the device when saying, “If we

add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we’re already spending, one more program to the 30 odd”

(Reagan). In addition, he talks about how it will not replace any, it will just be a copy of a current

program. Reagan continues the sarcasm in the phrase, “Do they believe that poverty is suddenly

going to disappear by magic?” (Reagan). Also, Reagan compares a “CCC camps, Civilian

Conservation Corps camps,” room and board price to the price of room and board during the

same period to that of Harvard (Reagan). Another place where sarcasm is used is when a

gentleman says to the congressional committee that he thinks taxes will solve everything. Reagan

says in his speech that “Robert Byers, the actuarial head, admitted that Social Security is 298

billion dollars in the hole.” This is a lot of money that the people are paying, yet are not

receiving. Robert goes on to say, “We shouldn’t worry because if they have the power to tax,

they could always take” (Reagan). This gentleman is implying that the nation should simply tax

to solve the money issue. Which is why Reagan is bringing it up so that light can be shed on the

The last rhetorical device that Reagan uses in his speech is repetition. He uses it in

different places, but the major thing that is repeated throughout the speech is the word

“government.” Within seven of the nine pages he uses the word 38 times. Just about every time

he says the word, it is referring to something different. Reagan uses “government” often because

he really wants the American people to understand that the biggest issues are not coming out of

nowhere but from some place where we should not worry if they are doing right or wrong. He

just wants the people to understand how important the really is when it comes to these issues.
4 Dixon

Ronald Reagan uses four rhetorical devices in this speech to express exactly what he

wants the American people to know and understand it on a different level. Each rhetoric express

a different emotion in the people listening to bring them together as a nation to fix all that has

fallen before it is too late to save. Thanks to pathos, logos, sarcasm and repetition we can

understand on a different level the point that Ronald Reagan was trying to make.
5 Dixon

Work Cited
Eidenmuller, Michael E. "American Rhetoric: Ronald Reagan -- A Time for Choosing."

American Rhetoric: Ronald Reagan -- A Time for Choosing. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar.

2017. <http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganatimeforchoosing.htm>.