Hillary Clinton’s rhetorics have evolved over her political career. This evolution can especially be observed in numerous speeches. Based on this discovery, I have decided to present my final project in a timeline format. I have split the timeline into four separate parts, with each timestamp indicating a landmark speech that we have covered in class.

Within each timestamp I have included short paragraphs summarizing each speech. My comments are based on digital annotations of the transcripts accompanying the corresponding speeches. The notes highlight key rhetorical strategies Hillary implements within her speeches, and how they have changed from the previous speeches.

I have also decided to base my timeline on my synthesis project. My previous findings analyzed Hillary’s use of the three rhetorical appeals and how they have established her as a politician. This final piece is not the answer to the puzzle, but rather an extension of my previous research.

The Timeline


The timeline begins with Hillary’s speech at Wellesley College. Here we see a young woman with high aspirations, posing challenges to politicians and ultimately showing herself as an individual strongly interested in change. While not a politician, Hillary’s strong involvement with the school’s student government has provided her with invaluable experience and it truly shows in the speech.

My annotations for the speech can be found here if they are inaccessible on the timeline.


Hillary’s next speech introduces us to her immersed in the political field. This is where we see her in motion as she provides anecdotes to strengthen her rhetorical appeals. Her Brooklyn speech speaks of unity. Since her Beijing speech, there is an obvious shift in her target audience. Now Hillary is speaking as a potential leader for the United States and not as First Lady. She proves herself to critics by utilizing her experiences via anecdotes, sending powerful messages through her speech.

My anecdotes for the speech can be found here if they are inaccessible on the timeline.


Hillary’s Brooklyn speech is not just about herself, but also intended for her audience. Her rhetorics shift into an even more united front than her Beijing speech, though shift away from the strict family focused theme. However, while she offers unity, there is a noticeable decline in how Hillary focuses on international affairs. The President represents the United States, but is also heavily involved with other world leaders.

My anecdotes for the speech can be found here if they are inaccessible on the timeline.


The last speech brought mixed emotions. Hillary handled it well, accepting defeat and providing supporters with a message of hope. However, her defeat only furthered the confusion and fears about our future. It is not her fault, but now we are left with more questions than answers.

My anecdotes for the speech can be found here if they inaccessible on the timeline. 

Parting thoughts

It is still unclear why Hillary lost the election. From my reviews, I saw her rhetorical appeals to be incredibly strong, and focused on combining unity to instill hope into her supporters. On the other hand, I also noticed a lack of specificity in terms of who that support was intended for. In Beijing it was towards “all women.” In Brooklyn the focus turned to “all Americans.” By her post-election speech it was about “one-nation,” even though she then proceeded to talk specifics such as minority groups. Her rhetorical appeals were not the problems, but her inability to specify target groups certainly contributed to her downfall. However, that is still just a small contribution to this still unsolved puzzle.