Birmingham Jail Pdf

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau both use the same kinds of rhetorical strategies in their writing to achieve similar purposes, although they target completely opposite audiences. In both Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government” and King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, logical appeals are scattered throughout to strengthen their arguments. Thoreau says in his essay, “It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.” Thoreau deduces that if corporations are made up of men, and men have consciences, then corporations are therefore conscientious. It is this type of logic that increases the likelihood of agreement by the audience. He is able…show more content…
Thoreau, knowing the widely accepted value of justice, says "If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth - certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine." His goal here is to inspire individuals to break unjust laws, to ultimately achieve the perfect idea of a government. By convincing his audience that civil disobedience is ethically and morally right, he achieves that goal. King takes a step back from civil rights to look at the big picture of moral rightness. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” This ethical argument is effective in showing how civil rights can benefit a much broader scope than what it seems. Through the use of ethical appeal, both Thoreau and King challenge their audience to target
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