Civil Disobedience Ethos Pathos Logos

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Henry David Thoreau wrote the famous letter “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” while doing his time in jail for not paying his poll tax in protest against slavery and the Mexican War. Thoreau was an outspoken critic against social issues he didn’t believe in. His letter has made a big influence on many other civil rights activists. In his letter, Thoreau used many different rhetorical strategies including pathos, as well as usages of logos and diction in order to achieve his purpose in persuading his audience that the government shouldn’t intervene. Thoreau’s use of pathos was seen greatly throughout his writing. His appeal to emotion was powerful to the readers, attempting to persuade them about how the government was unfair. A great example of this is when Thoreau mentions the issue of slavery in support for his argument. “I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also” (1018). Here Thoreau is saying how he can’t be ruled by the same government that also allows the cruelty of other human beings. …show more content…

Using logic will persuade people, because no one can argue with logic. Thoreau brings in logos with metaphors too. “You do not put your head into the fire” (1029). Thoreau is stating how its common sense that you wouldn’t put your head into a fire because you’ll just get hurt. He then moves on to saying that it’s the people’s fault for fueling the “fires” of the political machine, not the machine itself. It’s the people’s fault if they put their heads into the fire. As he then says “But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker of fire, and I have only myself to blame” (1029). He has only himself to blame, because no one else made him put his head into the fire, he did. The fire is symbolizing the unjust government. Putting your head in a fire, is like supporting an unjust government. It’s

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