Declaration of Independence and Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay

1102 WordsAug 24, 20105 Pages
Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. are two American men who were key leaders during very controversial periods in U.S. history, and they were instrumental in movements that forever changed American society. Although their generations, cultures, backgrounds, and motives were quite different, their cause was relatively the same. It was a cause that stood against injustice, oppression, and sought the freedom of all men. Their beliefs and struggles were evident in their writings. Two of the most famous writings in particular are "Declaration of Independence" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Both writings are very effective and successful in reaching out to their intended audience. However, "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is more…show more content…
King writing this letter from behind bars. He walked the statement that he makes in the letter that says, "I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do-nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle" (530). Although their cause was the same, their tactics and audience differed. Jefferson was able to use his claim of tyranny against the king, and Dr. King was able to use his humble approach and his comparisons to other men and organizations, to gain a worldwide audience in order to advance their causes. For example, Jefferson was able to rally support from the colonists and sympathy from other countries by placing the blame on King George. Jefferson justified his blame of King George by listing the king's many injustices, as well as the attempts that the colonial leaders made to communicate with King George. Using this tactic Jefferson was able to provoke the tyrant to war, prepare the colonists for war, and eventually gain an alliance with the French who helped them win the war. However, the Declaration was only targeted to the audience that would be critical in helping the colonies gain their independence. For instance, the slaves were
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