The founding father, Thomas Jefferson, is known for his intellect and historical impact. Credited as the lead author of the Declaration of Independence and an opposer of slavery, his views on the black race originally came as a shock to me. In “Thomas Jefferson on the African Race,” Jefferson states that in order to compare the races they must be tested in America by the white standard. In doing this, Jefferson cements whiteness as default and perpetuates an ideology that has not been overturned to this day.
Benjamin Banneker in the letter, argues against slavery. Banneker uses biblical allusion, and a melancholic tone in order to argue against slavery to Thomas Jefferson in 1791.
In the letter, Benjamin Banneker, a son of former slaves, farmer, astronomer, mathematician and author, wrote to President George Washington in 1791 he argues against the practice of slavery. Banneker supports his argument by using emotional appeal and alluding to the declaration of independence and the Bible. Banneker uses these methods in order to convince Washington of the wrongs of slavery. With the letter being written with the sole audience of President Washington it has a respectful but critical to as to get his point across but not impolite while doing so. Banneker successfully uses these strategies to present an argument to Washington about how immoral slavery is and why it should be abolished.
James Ivory’s 1995 historical drama Jefferson in Paris took place during Jefferson’s tenure as US ambassador to France. It explores the infamous 40-year relationship he allegedly fostered with his young slave: Sally Hemings. The focus of the film was to explore the slave-master dynamic between the two. But Hollywood has been known to dramatize certain elements of history in favor of an entertaining plotline. Is this the case with Jefferson in Paris? Several steps that are required before drawing any conclusions: the film’s portrayal of Jefferson and his relationship with Sally Hemings, in comparison to historical evidence, and then a final evaluation.
In Chapter 3 of A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki, he attempts to understand the hidden origins of slavery. In this essay, I will describe and analyze how Takaki uses race, ethnicity, historical events, and famous people to have a better understanding of slavery. We know that slavery itself is a system where an individual owns, buys, or sells another individual. The Irish served as indentured servants, not just blacks, but as time passed slavery consisted of just African Americans.
While arguing his position against slavery to Thomas Jefferson. By emphasizing his credibility on slavery, Banneker makes an effort to persuade Jefferson. He uses evidence in his argument as well as his high education displayed through his writing. Banneker also clearly displays his attitude against pro-slavery. These different rhetorical methods contributes to Banneker’s ethical points in the letter, creating a more persuasive and effective argument to Thomas
The institution of slavery has been regarded as a period of injustice, discrimination, and oppression. African Americans have not only been deprived of their human rights, but have faced physical and mental abuse from the hands of those in power. Several advocates, including the son of slaves and ambitious intellectual Benjamin Banneker, have deemed the enslavement of people as a shameful action enacted by the government. Within his letter to Thomas Jefferson, Banneker brings attention to how Jefferson had acknowledged the immoral conditions brought upon the slaves, yet he had implemented no actions to bring an end to the enslavement of his people. In order to convey to Jefferson in an effective matter, Banneker utilizes a demanding tone and an appeal to emotion to enhance his argument.
The intended audience for this document was Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a prominent figure during this time in American History and Benjamin Banneker felt he was the best person to respectfully address his concerns to.
The beginning of Banneker's letter strives to recall to Jefferson's memory the strife of the pre-1776 colonies against the tyrannical British Crown. Banneker initiates the letter by writing, "Sir, suffer me to recall to you." Banneker utilizes the word "sir" numerous times throughout the letter as he does in his introduction. Banneker does this in order to establish a formal tone that remains consistent throughout the letter. Banneker practices a
In 1792 Banneker sent a handwritten copy of his first almanac to at the time Virginia secretary of state Thomas Jefferson (about 10 years before he was president). Banneker included a letter to Jefferson stating that Jefferson should take any opportunity to abolish any false ideas or view of African Americans. The conversations between Jefferson and Banneker were one of the first documented examples of the civil rights protest letter in America.
He maintains his composed disposition and he writes to Jefferson as if he were a respected elder. This not only strengthens Banneker’s argument through pathos, it also successfully uses ethos as a rhetorical device. Banneker also has several biblical references throughout his letter, such as the ending of the aforementioned quote “the peculiar blessings of Heaven” and the biblical man named Job who said to his friends “put your souls in their soul’s stead”. He accomplishes several rhetorical strategies by appealing to rhetorical pathos and alluding to the foundation of revolutionary era America, religion. By attacking Jefferson’s religious ethics in a passive manner, Banneker effectively calls out Jefferson for supporting slavery, Jefferson’s crime against humanity. When Banneker says “You should be found guilty of that most criminal act which you profusely detested in others with respect to yourselves” after referencing Jefferson’s own religious beliefs he is implying that Jefferson is placing himself in a position above God, which is an eye opening statement for any religious American to say the
Banneker brings to light Jefferson’s views and to set the foundation to take his argument further. He refers to the Revolutionary War in line 2, "...arms and tyranny of the British Crown..." and explains the British Crown and indirectly refers to their ruling of the colonies. The word he most significantly used was ‘tyranny’ which sums up the rule of the British Crown in the colonists eyes. He uses the Revolutionary War and its impact on the colonies to further deepen the argument on his next point, without this clarification what he said next wouldn't have made any
In 1776, on July 4th, the 13 English colonies officially declared their freedom from England. However, as the years progressed, slavery became incorporated into everyday American life. In 1852, Frederick Douglass, a former slave, was called upon to deliver a speech to celebrate America’s independence; however, he censured Americans for saying they were a “country of the free”. In the speech, Hypocrisy of American Slavery, Frederick Douglass declares that Americans should not be celebrating their freedom when there are slaves living in the country. He uses emotional appeal, ethical appeal, and rhetorical questions to convince his audience that Americans are wrong celebrating freedom on the 4th of July when slavery exists in their country.
The negative diction and details clearly show that Banneker is dismayed concerning the issue of slavery, while the positive diction show that Banneker is tenacious concerning the need to end slavery. Banneker uses negative diction to let Jefferson know why slavery needed to end; Banneker uses such words as suffer, injustice, and slavery. Banneker uses the words to remind Jefferson about the treatment of slaves was injustice and how the United States once used to be in the same predicament. Banneker also appeals to Jefferson’s Christianity by using these words to show that all people did not have freedom. Banneker uses negative details by using quotes from the Declaration of Independence and the Bible to use against Jefferson. Banneker uses
Thomas Jefferson was a statesman, a scholar and enjoyed the philosophies of ancient Greeks. Jefferson was also an architect, which would serve him well as the third president of the United States of America. Jefferson’s vision was laid out in the Declaration of Independence and in his inauguration. Every person possessed certain inherent natural rights, which he defined as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This was the “Jeffersonian,” of Thomas Jefferson.