Benjamin Banneker Rhetorical Analysis

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In Benjamin Banneker’s 1791 missive to government officials, the son of former slaves contends against enslavement and servitude of African Americans. Banneker critiques those who support slavery and defends this with specific documentation from the Constitution. Banneker’s purpose is to prove the fundamental rights of African Americans in order to demolish slavery in the United States. He writes this forceful but respectful letter to Thomas Jefferson in order to prove this unconstitutional act. Banneker introduces his letter with an reference where he commemorates what this country has been through to receive our independence. He challenges his audience to “reflect on that time in which every human aid appeared unavailable.” This deliberate reference is effective in the speaker’s argument because it recalls to a time where life for colonists felt hopeless. They were fighting to receive their independence from Britain, similar to what Banneker is asking Jefferson to do for the African Americans. Many of these slaves even fought for America in the US Army. This also appeals to the reader’s emotion. In the Revolutionary War the citizens of America were fighting for freedom, and Banneker argues that it applied then; therefore, it should apply now, for all races. This is intended to compose a sense of guilt in the audience since the African Americans remained enslaved and oppressed even after their nation was freed from England.
The speaker argues that the “freedom and

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