“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal” is the beginning of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution which was quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech.   He stood in front of two hundred and fifty thousand people of all ages, genders, and races on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963.  After many protests and sit-ins, King finally had the chance to tell the nation of the cruel and unjust treatment of its citizens.  Throughout this speech, Dr. King used a variety of rhetorical concepts such as ethos, pathos, and logos. Martin Luther King Jr.’s goal was to motivate people to cease the hate for one another based on the color of their skin; while also reminding everyone of the principles that America was built on.  Dr. King explains that the Emancipation Proclamation gave all slaves false hope because one hundred years later, african americans were still being mistreated.  King stresses to the nation that change is not a thing that can be put on hold. Dr. King believed that civil rights could be accomplished without violence.  He reminded the people that he wasn’t blind to the fact that many have suffered pain from fighting for civil rights; but to keep faith and they will soon be liberated.  Pathos is a rhetorical concept which uses words, phrases, and ideas to influence people in an emotional way.  He began using pathos in the beginning, introducing his claim, “This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”  “Light of hope” gave me a hopeful feeling for everyone fighting for their rights.  He used the literary device of repetition to deliver a strong feeling about the things that he was speaking about at that moment.  “But one hundred years later, we must face…. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is…..One hundred years later, the Negro lives……One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing…..” I think that it made me feel more emotional about the ideas after hearing the same words two or three times; the repetition also made me realize the degree of the matters. “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”  King used happiness and hope throughout the speech that encouraged people to press forward spite the troubles they had endured.  Many of these examples display the use of pathos.Ethos is the rhetorical concept that uses reputation, experience, and values of the author or an expert to support claims. At the beginning of his speech, Martin Luther King refers to “the great American”.  “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation.”  MLK was referring to the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was America’s sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln was responsible for abolishing slavery through signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  Dr. King also referred to the founding fathers naming them the “architects of our republic”.  “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  The architects that he referred to are: George Washington, James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.  These men are too called the “framers” of the Constitution. King refers to them because he is proving that the nation was not built on segregation and inequality.  He uses the credibility of these men to make his point stronger. King’s experience earns him the respect necessary to gain the people’s attention.  He was arrested in Birmingham, AL, for hatred of court and parading without a permit and had come to Birmingham in an attempt to integrate public facilities in agreement with Supreme Court rulings. This allows his to be credible because he is not only preaching about what he has seen, but what he has experienced.Logos is the rhetorical analysis that appeals to the readers’ beliefs, values, and logic.  Dr. King wrote this speech from what he experienced and witnessed firsthand. He also states how the nation has gone back on its word in  the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”  Since people’s skin color is involved with rights, America has evaded the meaning of both the documents that grant men the rights.  No man’s skin color should ever be the reason he/she is not granted rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight change, wisdom, and loyalty influences the people of America to come together with men of opposite color united hand in hand. The rhetorical concepts of: pathos, ethos, and logos thoroughly defined the feelings Dr. King reveals this in his speech.  Pathos was identified as an expressive concept to show how strongly King felt using repetition, domineering words, and encouraging words.  Ethos was used to give background and the significance behind the particular sources and information he used to credit himself, as well as, standing behind his own experience to make him a dependable authority.  Logos provided information about Dr. King’s personal beliefs and values. Because of King’s frequent references to history, current struggles, and his hopes of the future of America, it helped me to understand the meaning of his speech.  

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