A Comparison of the Declaration of Independence and King's I Have A Dream

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Every individual has their own definition of freedom. Depending on time, place, religion, or race, this definition varies, but essentially comes back to one point: all men, regardless of anything, are created equally, and therefore have a right to be free. "The Declaration of Independence," by Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" are two works addressing this concern. Although Jefferson and King led extremely different lives over 150 years apart, both faced issues of human equality that drove them to write two of the most influential works in American history.

Thomas Jefferson, an educated, well respected career man, served as governor of Virginia, secretary of state, and
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Each strived for human equality, freedom, and abolishing prejudices, and although their personal definitions differed, they wrote to and spoke for the public. As educated men, they knew what people wanted to hear and how to make it sound appealing to those who disagreed. Although sending out similar messages, the language of these writings differs. The times in which each man lived obviously makes an impact on the word choice and style, but more importantly was the audience each wanted to reach through these writings. Jefferson sent out his declaration to educated white men, business men, and those tired of British rule, the audience he wanted to appeal to. He says, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experiences hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed" (Jefferson 305). Jefferson points out the fact that if a change was not really needed, America wouldn't take such drastic measures to make things different. King, however, was speaking to millions of people, some with little or no education, and some many with years of schooling. Being such a broad and diverse audience, King had to speak more generally so all could understand. Metaphors are commonly used throughout King's speech, probably used to create
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