Political speech definition Characteristics and types examples

 Political Speech

The political speech is a communication strategy that is based on creating a message through a combination of non-verbal and para verbal to persuade the individual and the masses verbally expressive resources. In this article we will present the definition of political speech along with other aspects.

The development of this type of discourse uses elements of social and behavioral psychology that have an impact on the cognitive area, in order to win supporters for electoral purposes.

Politics encompasses various factors and elements that make it one of the most important areas of study for society, and it can be said that political discourse has determined the destiny of humanity in moments that are considered historical today.

It is an essential tool for political actors, since it is used by them to express their way of seeing certain problems, link voters with their ideals, generate questions about the exercise of power or create hope in those who receive the message.

Political discourse has several characteristics. Among all of them, five stand out that are fundamental to understanding its nature: argumentation, strategy, controversy, position and persuasion.

With regard to the types of discourses, it seems that the doctrine in particular is not so important, but rather the classical postulates of Aristotelian rhetoric. Among the types of discourse proposed by scholars, the judicial, deliberative and demonstrative stand out.


At above you read about the definition of political speech now lets see its characteristics.

Political speeches are characterized by addressing issues as varied as the context in which politicians are operating. However, in most cases there are ideological aspects, government actions, legislative proposals or other issues closer to society, such as labor or citizen security.

These points have been part of the discursive agenda of emblematic political leaders and it is not an exaggeration to say that they have also served as a basis for writing history through famous speeches such as I have a dream by Martín Luther King, Blood, toil, tears and sweat by Winston Churchill or the inauguration speech of Nelson Mandela.

Although political speeches are greatly influenced by the context the leader is facing – be it an electoral campaign scenario, accountability or criticism of other political actors – there are certain characteristics that are generally present in a speech. The most important are the following:


The speech presents a thesis and, likewise, it also has an argumentation that supports it. Therefore, the statement that is intended to be communicated to the recipients is defended with real facts or plausible reasoning.


The construction of a discourse has a strategic sense of action; that is to say, in its development there are clearly defined objectives, ways or ways to reach the latter and antagonists or obstacles that could present themselves as threats on the playing field.


Within the political discourse, the creation of an adversary is very recurrent, which undoubtedly generates controversy and arouses different emotions in the recipients of the message.

Building an enemy can be used to point to the latter as responsible for some event, or to commit the receiver of the message to join their cause and face the danger that said enemy represents.

4-Commitment to a position

Whoever assumes the political discourse is not restricted only to communicating or expressing himself neutrally about a certain situation, but is immediately linked to a specific position, commits himself to a position.


Generally, the interest in convincing is not aimed at the political adversary; rather, the appeal is to his own supporters, to his allies. In the same way, it also aims to ensure that those who are in an undecided position end up joining its cause.

Types of Political speech

There is no consensus or homogeneity within the doctrines regarding the types of political discourses. However, various authors have approached a classification based on Aristotle’s division of discursive genres.

Therefore, types of political discourses can be considered those that have their own forms and contexts. Below we will detail the most important types: definition of political speech


In this type of speech, the receiver is in a position where he must decide and take a position in relation to past events. This occurs in the customary renditions of accounts made by the rulers, in which the performance of the leaders is judged.

The political discourse in these cases focuses on demonstrating that the precise and necessary actions were taken in the development of the management. So it is a type of oratory that addresses enough supporting elements, and beyond convincing by ensuring that the right thing was done, it must be verified that it was.


Within this type are electoral and parliamentary speeches. These are used in a context in which a group of people will make a decision regarding a transcendental and future issue, such as, for example, an approval of law or the appointment of someone who will hold public office.

This type of discourse is almost always developed by showing either for or against the decision to be made; the speaker defends what he considers useful or harmful. A characteristic element of deliberative discourse is that the argumentation used is usually inductive: it goes from the specific to the general.


The context in which the type of demonstrative political discourse unfolds is one in which the speaker does not have listeners with significant decision-making power in front of him, or is not facing a determining situation.

It is applied in acts where honors are paid or there is a certain solemnity. In this type of speech sobriety reigns.

Frequent topics

Political discourse faces as many issues as there are problems or needs at the time it occurs. They can be topics as varied as partisan principles, ideologies, government actions, bureaucratic aspects or any other element that has the goal of achieving power.

However, these issues have the disadvantage of their distance from the common citizen. That is, many times they are not aligned or do not correspond to the specific demands that the common individual may have.

Therefore, there are themes that, although they are recurrent in political discourse and essential for the conservation or obtaining of power, are not sufficient for persuasion.

So issues closer to the people, such as salary, crime reduction, economic boom or improvements in public services are also very present in political speeches and are approached in an empathic way, in order to shorten distances. and promote a positive relationship.

The foregoing has a specific weight within the strategic game that is politics, since a leader who only bases his speech on issues far from society can make an error that can easily be capitalized on by the adversary.

For this reason, political discourse always seeks a balance between issues close to the population and those that are related to power.

Examples of famous political speeches

At the end after reading the definition of political speech and its types and characteristics now look its examples as well.

This last section presents the description of three emblematic speeches that marked the 20th century, made in a specific context and with protagonists who left a mark on contemporary history:

1-I have a dream

“I have a dream” was a speech given by the American activist and politician Martin Luther King Jr., in which he defended that all people should have the same rights and be treated as equals regardless of their skin color.

It is worth noting that this speech was given in a context in which black people did not yet have the same rights as white people. Luther King Jr. shaped a future of equality that motivated millions of Americans to envision a society without racial and even religious differences.

2-Blood, toil, tears and sweat

“Blood, effort, tears and sweat”, this emblematic phrase was used by the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his May 1940 speech.

Churchill assumed such an important position in one of the most complex situations that his country and Europe experienced throughout the 20th century: they were cornered by Hitler and Nazi Germany in the middle of World War II.

Faced with such a serious threat, Churchill did not generate victorious expectations; on the contrary, he made it clear that the battle would not be easy. Later his leadership was vital for the victory of the group of allies in the war.

3-Nelson Mandela inauguration speech

The speech given by the then newly elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was given in 1994 in a context of major racial conflict in which there was a supremacy of white people and, therefore, a segregation of other races.

Mandela was the first president with a black complexion and with a particular personal situation, because he spent more than 20 years in prison for defending his ideas. Although his own allies called for a vendetta against the white rulers who subjugated them, he was able to achieve national reconciliation and pacify his nation without the use of force.

We hope you have grasped the definition of political speech after reading this post.

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