Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator 

Basic Information:
Date Given: January 25, 1974
Reason Given: Ronald Reagan gave this speech at the First Conservative Political Action Conference. The intent was to gain momentum for the upcoming election for the Republican Party.
Effects: Overall, this speech did not do very much for Reagan immediately; however, it did solidify him as an up and coming political leader that would be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. It solidified his "spot" as a contender for future elections and helped in the transition from "Reagan: the actor" to "Reagan: the politician".

In this speech, Ronald Reagan heavily relies on history to reassure the audience of the future. Also, Reagan's optimism and humor peek through at crucial times during this speech. He begins this speech by introducing the three prisoners of war that recently returned from Vietnam. Regardless of the view of the listener about the war, most everyone can appreciate the sacrifice of soldiers. They can relate to the fact that these people are willing to give up their lives, even if they do not agree with the politics. Reagan understood that even if he could not connect with people on a political level, he might be able to connect with listeners on a personal level. This sense of personal connection could influence people to vote for him, even if they did not fully agree with his policies. In this way, Reagan was playing to his strengths as a communicator. He continues his speech by talking about why our nation is set apart and why that is not a "bad" thing. He argues that our founding and the sacrifice of our founders sets our nation apart and instill a sense of pride. It is human nature to want to feel elite or special. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that desire. Making listeners feel set apart and proud is a good way to get them to agree with you or get them to do what you want. In this case, Reagan was speaking to the Republican base. He was most likely trying to get them motivated and active for the upcoming presidential election. Motivated people are more likely to vote, more likely to tell their friends and family to vote for their candidate and more likely to bring victory to the party they are aligned with. Once again, Reagan knew this and this speech is his attempt to motivate the base that will lead to the election of the most republicans as possible. The next part of Reagan's address is based on the quote from John Winthrop, who said, "We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world." In essence, Winthrop was saying that America would go downin history as the nation that everyone looks to for help and with admiration. Winthrop was srguing that the Lord would continue to bless our nation and Reagan is agreeing with him. This feeling of being special makes people much more likely to support your mission and help you be successful as a politician.  Ronald Reagan was always described as an optimist and his humor was always noted. Both of these quialities peek through during this speech. This sense of light heartedness makes the message being delivered seem less serious and forboding. People do not like feeling as though doom is ultimately coming. It is not a pleasant thought. Optimistic people  generally get more accommplished for this reason. There is a saying that goes, "Make 'em feel good and get what you want." Reagan's ability to make people feel like everything is going to be okay was not only so he could get what he wanted, but it came from a mindset that truly believed that everything would work out and be okay. His genuine optimism is clear in his speeches and the genuine quality of it is why so many people followed him and supported him. If people felt as though it was a front that he was putting on, they would not want to follow him. People don't like feeling lied to. His sense of humor also helps him to connect with the audience on a human level. People like feeling as though the person in front of them isn't a robot. Reagan making comments like, "When I was born my life expectancy was 10 years less than I have already lived – that’s a cause of regret for some people in California, I know," not only make people chuckle, they serve a purpose. These comments lighten the mood and cause people to connect with Reagan as a person and not just a politician giving a speech. Reagan understood the way people approach supporting political parties and leaders and frequently used that to his advantage.