Persuasive strategies in Michelle Obama's speech at the "Hillary for America" campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire

Riza Annisa Putri, Yasmine Anabel Panjaitan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Prominent political figures have delivered some of the most powerful speeches throughout modern history. Excerpts of their words are still widely resonated and considered to have shaped the political world. One campaign speech stood out amid the 2016's US presidential election. Michelle Obama, at that time the US First Lady, spoke for Hillary Clinton, who was running for president. Although Hillary eventually lost the race to Donald Trump, Michelle's campaign speech for Hillary received positive feedback for its emotionally-charged yet empowering message, especially for women. However, what made her speech powerful was more than the content itself. Ever a strong and highly educated politician, Michelle used persuasive strategies commonly found in campaign speeches. This chapter aims to identify the use of persuasive strategies in Michelle Obama's remark at "Hillary for America" (HFA) campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2016. The significance of this study is that more women are taking the lead in the political world, and in their agenda lies the importance of their fellow women. It is therefore imperative to analyze how a female politician like Michelle builds and organizes her spoken discourse to inspire women and influence people into supporting women in politics. The method used for the study is a political discourse analysis. Johnstone's (1989) theory of persuasive strategies serves as the framework to analyze Michelle's use of persuasive markers in her remark. The data was the transcript of Michelle Obama's speech at the HFA campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire, that was released by the White House Office of the First Lady. The transcript was then analyzed to find persuasive markers used by Michelle to influence the audience. The persuasive markers found were further categorized into three persuasive strategies suggested by Johnstone (1989), which were quasi-logical, presentational, and analogical. The findings disclose that the three persuasive strategies were used effectively to convince the audience. The data analysis has revealed that Michelle mostly used logical reasoning and repetition throughout her speech. By employing these discourse markers, Michelle moved her audience emotionally and led them to think for themselves on the issue of women and how their lives would be affected if Hillary did not bring victory to women and other marginalized groups..

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOn Language, Education, Politics, and Identity
Subtitle of host publicationA Cross-Linguistics Perspective
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781536193374
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021


  • Campaign speech
  • Michelle Obama's speech
  • Persuasive strategy
  • Political discourse


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