Bitzer Olivia Knutson

After reading Bitzer's article I have drawn the conclusion that another way to define "context" is what types of conflict, situations, and events are going on during or before the argument. According to that definition the context of this speech is Robert Kennedy's attempt at walking dangerous path between the white society and the African Americans of that tempestuous decade when segregation was being eradicated and the tumultuous relations between the typical white Americans and the African Americans were causing much violence and turmoil within America.
The exigence of this speech was Kennedy's attempt to maintaining what peace there was during the hate inspired chaos of the 1960s. By announcing the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In giving this speech Robert Kennedy risked political peril as well as physical harm. He had to have had a strong belief in the rhetoric of his speech because he needed to convince the masses to remain civil and not lash out in violence towards their fellow Americans.
The speech was directed towards the residents of one of Indianapolis's African American ghettos who expected to be hearing a political campaign by Robert Kennedy. However, Robert Kennedy was speaking to all of America with a plea for peace. Since the speech was recorded much of America did hear it. However, the main subjects he directed his argument for peace at where African Americans all over America. Those who were outraged at the death of one of their beloved racial justice activists at the hands of white Americans.
The constraints on this argument were the safety of Robert Kennedy and many other Americans. If he said anything to anger the African Americans or the whites there could have been mass chaos and violence emerging nation wide. Another constraint was Robert Kennedy walking the fine line and making it clear that this was not an "us vs. them" situation. He had to make sure he did not give the impression he was taking sides either way. Kennedy had to make sure he did not seem as if he was taking the African Americans side or the whites side, instead he had to convince the audience that there were no sides. Without convincing his audience of a unified nation Kennedy would not properly convey his message of citizens uniting in an effort at national peace.
Excellent analysis! —Hamann

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