Persuasive Speech Essay

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Persuasion is key when trying to compel your audience to do or believe something. Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer all delivered powerful, persuasive speeches that will go down in history. The use of these creative individuals’ language and persuasion played a pivotal role within the civil rights movement. We can observe this in the speakers’ rhetoric devices like ethos, logos and pathos.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the events on “Bloody Sunday”, Obama gave a speech filled with encouraging words about how far America has come. Throughout his speech he included various pathos examples. For instance, he stated, “[…] all of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built” (Obama). Obama utilized the word “all” and “we” as if the people were one. As if each and every one of us has as much responsibility as the next and because he does this, some may even begin to fulfill that responsibility. Ethos is another rhetoric analysis, it defines someone’s character or identity and Obama does just that when he says, “[…] who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval office” (Obama). Talking about his own credentials, Obama refers to himself when speaking about the oval office because he was the first African American to be elected president.
The “I have a dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the greatest speeches given during the civil rights movement. Appealing to the audiences’ emotions plays a crucial role in the act of persuasion and with his utilization of pathos, King does just that. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (King). The reference to his children helps charge an emotional image into the listener’s mind, more so because they are likely to pity the way the actions of others affect the younger generation.
Logos appeals to logic, which allows the writer to address

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