The Audacity of Hope Study Guide

The Audacity of Hope

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

The junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, was propelled to national prominence at the 2004 Democratic Convention when he delivered a rousing keynote address entitled“The Audacity of Hope.” In the less than 20 minutes it took to deliver the speech, Obama was catapulted to sudden fame, with many analysts predicting that he may be well-positioned to enter a future presidential race. In 2006, Obama released The Audacity of Hope, a book-length account that expands upon many of the same themes he originally addressed in the convention speech that bore the same title.

The Audacity of Hope is an unusual blend of autobiography and policy analysis that veers far from the boilerplate, often ghostwritten biographies that many politicians release in the years leading up to a major campaign. In it, Obama recounts his unique childhood and the insight that his racially mixed heritage and the experience of living in a number of exotic locales instilled in him. He also discusses in great detail virtually every major political issue facing the American electorate today, offering his opinion and possible strategies for reform.

On issues ranging from abortion to defense, Obama’s stance is one that attempts to find a middle ground between reactionary conservatism and myopic, overly idealistic liberalism. Hearkening back to a period when Congress was characterized by collegiality and mutual respect, Obama calls for more real compromise and cooperation between Democrats and Republicans. His overarching message is that America has the inherent potential to offer hope to anyone, regardless of their background or experiences; however, in order to ensure that opportunities exist for all in a secure, functional, and sustainable national environment, a number of key policy changes are necessary.

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