Argumentative Appeal In Martin Luther King

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Martin Luther King, Jr. uses his powerful voice throughout his works to draw on the hearts of his audience by tapping into their moral compasses. King has an impressive understanding on the influence that the argumentative appeal, ethos, has on his readers. By using ethos, King is able to appeal to the character of every single one of his readers. This allows his works to seem more personal, therefore resulting in a bigger influence on his audience. In “The American Dream” and “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” King uses the appeal to ethos by touching on the topics of moral obligations and the needs of children. Martin Luther King understood the importance of a strong opening line. He understood how necessary it was to immediately create a connection …show more content…
puts a strong emphasis on moral obligations in both “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “The American Dream.” In “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” King depicts the idea that one does not only have a legal responsibility to obey laws, but also a moral responsibility. King continues this idea in the next sentence by stating that one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. King writes, “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality” (King, “Letter” 299). King portrays the idea that segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality, which in turn impedes the capability of America to …show more content…
S. Mill, writes it best, stating, “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant” (Mill, On Liberty 9). This coincides with the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, and with King’s idea, that all men should be treated equally. In “The American Dream,” King is passionate about how “racial discrimination must be uprooted from American society because it is morally wrong” (King, “The American Dream” 1). King describes racial discrimination as a new form of slavery; just one covered up with “certain niceties of complexity” (King, “The American Dream” 1). By describing racial discrimination as morally wrong, King is forcing the audience to examine their own morals and discover whether or not they are in the wrong. When King describes racial discrimination as a new form of slavery, he intentionally regresses America back to an uncivilized time. The time of slavery is a time in which all of America is ashamed to be apart of, and by making this connection to racial discrimination, King is pressing his audience into feeling that same sense of shame. He draws on the characters of his audience so that they will feel that shame and stand behind him and his fight against racial discrimination. Mill believes that silencing opinions is wrong because it deprives

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