Benjamin Banneker Rhetorical Analysis

Improved Essays
Benjamin Banneker being that he is a son of a former slave has a strong stance on the negativity of slavery. He writes to the then secretary of state Thomas Jefferson, challenging Jefferson to debate racial equality on the accounts of moral grounds. Banneker effectively argues that not only is slavery contradictory of American ideals established in the past by Jefferson, but a violation of christian morals in his overall goal to persuade Thomas Jefferson that slaves should be freed through the use of rhetorical strategies that appeal to Jefferson 's ethics and morals in the letter Banneker wrote to him in 1791.
Banneker leads into a pleas with utmost respect to Jefferson to have a more compliant to his upcoming demands. The author uses the
…show more content…
Banneker quotes what Jefferson had once proudly inscribed for America to see, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed word by their with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ (Banneker 21-25). He uses irony effectively to persuade Jefferson against slavery. He accomplishes this by specifically pointing out a part of the Declaration that points out that all men are created equally. Ironically enough slaves, who are also men do not have equal rights. This causes the Jefferson to feel guilt. That the rule they righteously hold to be the truth does not apply to “all” as it so boldly implies. By showing the faults in the law the readers abides by and showing the need for a new law to free slaves exemplifies exactly why slavery is not right to …show more content…
Banneker carefully crafts his words to be extremely persuasive by using a hyperbole. He states, “thus shall your hearts be enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards them, and thus shall you need neither the direction of myself or others, in what manner to proceed herein” (Banneker 50-53). Your heart will not literally enlarge with kindness and benevolence but figuratively it is something appealing that most people want to do. Reading that, leaves the reader wanting to do good, to reevaluate their stance, to do the morally right thing that Banneker has so far effectively argued. By rewarding the reader with an intangible yet appealing reward to rethink their stance on slavery makes Banneker highly persuasive. People want to be a good person and by saying if you show kindness and benevolence to those who are enslaved promotes his original goal to persuade Jefferson to emancipate slavery.
Banneker himself is not a slave, but the previous experiences of his former slave father background, gives him a burning passion to stop slavery. He achieves his goal of persuading his reader, Thomas Jefferson to emancipate slaves by using strategic rhetorical devices that are eloquent. Rhetorical devices such as an anecdote, irony, rhetorical question, and hyperbole all contributed to Benjamin Banneker’s objective of the need to end slavery. We are all created equally, so

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Livingston does a remarkable job in disproving the myth that the Civil War was fought on the basis of the North’s attempt to abolish slavery. He does so by pointing out the North’s dependence on slavery, their deep ceded prejudice towards Blacks and Abraham Lincoln’s lack of leadership to deal with slavery on a moral level. Overall Livingston’s views are well founded and acceptable. However, he may have oversimplified a very complex issue. He is correct to say that the South is not alone in its sin against Blacks.…

    • 1063 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Also, in Constitutional Aspects of Slavery, Torodash discusses the idea that Jefferson condemned King George III for depriving his people of proper rights, yet the United States government deprives slaves of their rights (234). Torodash reflects on the United…

    • 2070 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The noted critic William Andrews comments, “The telling of the lie represents an act of rebellion by Huck 's heart in defiance of his society-trained conscience” (“The Smallpox Lie”). Contrary to his previous conviction that he would turn Jim in, Huck’s actions serve to prove that the ethical conflicts that he is facing are gradually changing his outlook on the African American race and allowing him to accept his own principles before society’s. Huck’s moral dilemma regarding Jim’s status as a runaway slave reaches its climax when Huck decides that he would rather “go to hell” than turn Jim in (Twain 214). Huck’s decision has an air of finality as he tears up the letter that would lead to Jim’s enslavement. This resolution marks the most important milestone…

    • 1058 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In his letter, Benjamin Banneker uses pathos, logos, and allusions in order to argue for equal rights to slaves and highlight the hypocrisy of the declaration. Banneker appeals to pathos in order to persuade Thomas Jefferson that slaves should be granted equal rights and that the Declaration is a hypocrisy. Banneker shows the hypocrisy…

    • 975 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The allusion that Banneker integrates was a direct quote from the Declaration of Independence; a document that “supposedly” should include all people. This quote that Banneker included states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” By including this quote, Banneker admonishes Jefferson and this official document because this document contradicts the entire institution of slavery. This document contradicts slavery because slaves are not free and have no rights, therefore when this document refers to “all men,” all men are not actually included.By including this quote it was a very effective approach in trying to get Jefferson to see through his eyes, as it directly identifies the hypocrisy of such an important document that he personally had a great influence on. Banneker essentially used a logical approach when he included this quote, as he revealed truthful and factual information that again identifies the hypocrisy of this document. Additionally, by including this quote from The Declaration of Independence, it also enacts a sense of guilt.…

    • 1145 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Frederick Douglas was an advocate of total abolition and women’s rights. In his Speech at the Anti-Slavery Association 1848, he provides a pictorial description of America in order to reveal the atrocities committed by slaveholders. Douglas does not care about who an individual is associated with (e.g. church or state) because if one not helping to find a solution to end slavery, and are indifferent, then one is merely adding to the problem of slavery. He does not support the union, constitution, or church as it is (254) because it furthers advocation of slaveholders and further deprives slaves.…

    • 590 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This document was more than mere propaganda to solely contend in opposition to slavery, it was a testimony of a political purpose to provide abstract queries, with freedom as the subject, to personally define which side of the debate was just. Personally, that was of main importance because Douglass’s purpose was to not attack the beliefs for slavery, but to inform the people of America the brutal lives slaves were suffering and let the views of residents alter. With the depictions of dehumanization and freedom in his prominent narrative, Frederick Douglass succeeded in the voyage of abolishment for all under the slave rule in America; and despite the…

    • 1200 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Mr. Banneker argues to Jefferson that slaves, like the Americans who had just successfully fought for their rights and freedom, are just as deserving of freedom as everyone else and argues this through his use of a mock-reverent tone, comparison, and logical fallacy. Banneker establishes a mock-reverent tone through his repetition of the word “sir” six times in the passage. In his initial use of the word it appears out of respect but by the end of the passage, just before accusing him of having imbibed “narrow prejudices,” it is clearly out of contemp. Banneker mock-reverence is clearly directed at Jefferson’s ownership of slaves, insinuated by “I supper that your knowledge of the situation of my brethren is too extensive…, despite being an…

    • 495 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Although he previously stated how they were the same and tries to make him realize black slaves are no less human than white people, it shows Jefferson that he respects him and knows his place. Banneker also appeals to Jefferson’s emotions by reminding him of the way he feels toward and values liberty and also makes him recognize how blessed he is to be entitled to freedom. Banneker describes the horrors and injustices of slavery and complete disregard of the fact slaves are humans. By referring to them as his “brethren” he brings to light his motive that slaves are also brothers, sons, daughters, etc. which is something not many people took into…

    • 445 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Twain uses the N word to serve a purpose of identification. One critic observes “if the readers observe intently to the “repulsive” phrase, we are able to view this phrase not solely a provoke to inhumanity, but particularly through the knowledge of the accurate view of American racism furthermore the author’s criticism of it” (Smith 1). Whites, including Huck, are conditioned to believe society’s view of slavery as right. The first time Huck made the decision to turn Jim in, he eventually backed out. Huck goes through an internal conflict with his conscience as it begins to bother and make Huck feel guilty, since he helps a slave be free.…

    • 1449 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays