Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Communication Studies and Theatre


This study is a Burkean analysis of President Roosevelt's December 8, 1941, declaration of war address and President Bush's September 20, 2001 address to a joint session of Congress. The study focusses on the language used by each President to justify military action to the American citizens. Burke's dramatistic pentad serves as the framework for this study. The study focusses on Burke's concept of spiritualization as identification. This is the use of God and devil words. Both war speeches met the criteria for constituting a dramatic analysis. Burke's rhetorical tools are employed to uncover the motives of each speaker. The analysis covers the rhetorical situations that transpired previous to the rhetorical discourse. The pentad provided similarities and differences between the act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose regarding each speech. The associational clusters were identified illustrating the President's use of God and devil words. The clusters were analyzed to see how each President victimized the enemy while portraying the United States as God.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Roosevelt, Franklin D (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Oratory Bush, George W (George Walker), 1946- -- Oratory Political oratory -- United States Persuasion (Rhetoric) World War, 1939-1945 War on Terrorism, 2001-2009



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University