The Audacity of Hope

GabeAmerican History(ML), Mini Lessons

From: Common Sense American History eBook:

In 2004, a little-know senate candidate from Illinois electrified the Democratic party in his nomination speech for John Kerry. Barack Obama, of course, went on to win his senate race, and four years later became president.

As president, Obama went on to become a very polarizing figure. But in 2004, he was held up as someone who could unite the country.

Listen and watch his speech and then answer the following questions:

  1. Understanding that the purpose of the speech was to nominate Democrat John Kerry for president, what in the substance of the speech comes across as partisan? What aspirations does he express which would not be shared by a Republican?
  2. Do you think he was sincere? If so, why do you think his presidency didn’t act to unite the country? If not, do you think messages such as he gave are required in order to gain the votes of a majority of Americans?
  3. What happens to politicians who do not live up to their promises?
  4. What, as outlined by Obama, constitutes the essence of being an American and the American dream?

This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense American History eBook.  Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for students and teachers.  Click Here to download the Common Sense American History materials.

Image Citation:

27, July 2016, Obama during his Keynote Address at the Democratic Nation Convention [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <>.