Essay on Martin Luther King Rhetorical Analysis

1420 Words Dec 1st, 2005 6 Pages
Dreaming About Freedom
Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is one of the most successful and most legendary speeches in United States history. Martin Luther King Jr. was a masterful speaker, who established a strong command of rhetorical strategies. By his eloquent use of ethos, logos, and pathos, as well as his command of presentation skills and rhetorical devices, King was able to persuade his generation that "the Negro is not free" (King 1). His speech became the rallying cry for civil rights and lives on as an everlasting masterpiece.
It is necessary to first understand King's arguments before delving into the actual analysis. King's main argument is that African-Americans are not free or equal according to the rights
…show more content…
He refers to the principles voiced by the nation's founders in his appeal for racial equality. This strategy was especially important in light of the fact that the government was concerned that the Civil Rights movement might discredit the United States abroad. The government was worried that if they gave African-Americans freedom, the United States would be seen as weak and have been persecuting innocent people. Hence, it was perceptive of King to imply in the speech that he is not undermining the United States, but asking the country to do justice to the principles that were asserted to be the backbone of U.S. politics and society. King states, for example, that his dream was "deeply rooted in the American dream," (King 2) and that he dreams of a day when Americans "will be able to sing with new meaning `My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing'" (King 3). King then uses the words of that song to distinguish the different areas of the country where he hoped the United States would soon "let freedom ring" (King 3) for all its citizens. King alludes to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as being a "promissory note" (King 1) to all citizens, which those at the march were claiming as their inheritance. The speech gains power from King's stressing that he was asking the United States to live up to its principles and thus to fulfill the greatness of its pronounced creed.
More so than either ethos or logos, King
Open Document