Ethos Pathos Logos in Richard Nixon's the Checkers Speech Analysis

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Ethos in Checkers Speech
  • Logos in Checkers Speech
  • Pathos in Checkers Speech
  • Conclusion


The Checkers speech was done many years ago but still so important as it was then and now. The speech is about California Senator Richard Nixon that was shown on national television. Nixon had been chosen by President Dwight D Eisenhower to be his mate during the Republican National Convention in 1952. A few months had went by and Nixon had been accused of taking illegal gifts and then pressed with charges for 18,000 dollars against his supporters. Richard Nixon Checkers speech analysis is done by attempting to create a better self-image of himself to the audience as a man, while making emotional and well- grounded claims to his audience through ethos, logos, and pathos.

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Ethos in Checkers Speech

Richard Nixon Checkers speech rhetorical analysis shows that the basis of Senator Nixon’s speech is to oppose to the argument that his funds were in fact handed out illegally, while presenting his argument as to why he is correct. In the beginning of his speech he claims that he does not intend to do “the so usual political type thing” which is not to ignore nor deny any charges that come against him, but to tell the whole heartedly truth. From there on out, Nixon shows the basis of his speech, in which he will be telling the truth throughout his argument. When first starting his argument Nixon begins by stating that as a man his integrity and honesty he has been questioned. This introduction shows Ethos by when he talks about his position and problem, and indirectly presents choice over the judgments that have been made to him and whether or not to believe them.

Another example of Nixon portraying Ethos during his speech is when he explains that he never did make one phone call from the agency or about the agency nor gone down to the agency. He adds in that there are records indicating that. He does this to strengths his position and to prove that the statements were incorrect and give a substantial amount of proof to prove they are incorrect.

Logos in Checkers Speech

To continue Nixon bluntly states that it would be morally wrong for any of that $18,000 went to his personal use or to be secretly given or handed. He also mentions that it would wrong had any of the contributors got special favors for the contributions that had been made. In this statement he uses Logos by providing facts on how he did not spend the money. In addition, Nixon explains his financial background. He does that to better his image. Being from a modest family, him and his siblings we’re always working at the family grocery store while growing up. He also gives a little about his college life. He does this so he can relate back to the audience. This provokes Logos, as he shows through his words that he worked for the things he had/ has and were not handed to him.

Pathos in Checkers Speech

Nixon also claims some background about him and his wife and after working numerous jobs, they had a substantial amount of money into their personal savings. And that their savings were within Government bonds. With that being said, making comment about him and his wife’s savings goes to show that he did not touch any of the campaign contributions. Finally, Nixon evokes Pathos throughout his speech by making some statements. He goes to mention that there are other expenses that are not covered by the Government, and he could best address those expenses by asking questions. He is blaming the usage of his money to the government, that it doesn’t provide enough money for senators to spend on actual business related issues. He uses Pathos, by talking about the money spent and you saying that it isn’t as easy as it looks. He then goes to spice things up and get some other reaction out of the audience, humor. Nixon says “The first way is to be a rich man. I do not happen to be a rich man so I can’t use that one.”


Analyzing the Checkers speech we could see that by humor and emotions Nixon is using Pathos. Although most of all Nixon’s financial situations can relay emotional correlation with the audience, when he uses the reference to his dog Checkers towards the end of his speech he completes his argument that he is like everyone else. He states he never took any contributions other than his dog Checkers. Nixon knew if he would have brought up Checkers that it will give the audience a different view on him, viewing him as a good man. Bringing up his dog did him the favor of changing the opinion on him worldwide. To conclude, with the help of ethos, logos and pathos Nixon delivers a successful positive image for himself through proving the rumors were incorrect. He does so by accordingly being honest, straightforward, and incorporating his personal background.

Nixon’s “Checkers Speech” is sure to get emotions from the audience, thus allowing a change in the audiences view of him.

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