Civil Disobedience And Martin Luther King Mlk Analysis

1120 Words 5 Pages
The power of persuasion is arguably one of the most valuable of all. In my opinion, the stronger the influence, the more powerful the person. Many writers demonstrate this power in persuasive essays, many of which have stood the test of time to continue to persuade people today. Two such writers are Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. Though the latter is more commonly known for his influential speeches and actions, his writing has proved just as powerful as the former. Though each has his own voice in his writing, these writers share a few common characteristics in how they persuade a reader. In Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, these two write about a particular injustice they observe, and convince …show more content…
In terms of the former, King uses the ethics of Christianity to convince readers of his argument. He states, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here (…) so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town”. As this letter is a letter to a group of clergymen, King’s mention of the gospel is very relevant. However, this is also an open letter, and he is simultaneously appealing to the average American Christian citizen who might read this. If King states that his actions are to ‘carry the gospel of freedom’, readers of the same beliefs are inclined to believe him, so as to avoid cognitive dissonance. By using religion as a pillar in his argument, King is applying ethos to his writing. Similar to King’s appeal to Christians, Thoreau tries to invoke one’s responsibility as a citizen. For example, he argues, “when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.” This is a very strong use of ethos. Thoreau’s statement that it “it is not too soon” to take action against this, he is appealing to those who identify as “honest …show more content…
The most important persuasions are the ones that convince a large number of people, and continue to convince others long after their publishing. In Civil Disobedience and Letter from Birmingham Jail, these authors use their strong writing skills to effectively influence their respective audiences. Specifically, King and Thoreau use ethos, pathos, and logos in their writings, to appeal to different parts of the reader’s mind. Using emotional language and imagery, ethical justifications, and logical arguments, these authors make their writings as appealing as

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