Comparing Benjamin Banneker's Letter To Thomas Jefferson

534 Words3 Pages

In 1791 Benjamin Banneker accuses Thomas Jefferson of being a hypocrite by owning slaves and previously stating, “All men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Benjamin Banneker was the son of a former slave. He drafts this letter in 1791, to Thomas Jefferson to address these issues in a respectful and historical tone.
Banneker was an educated man (i.e. farmer, astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, and author.) He knew his place in society as well as how society worked. Around this time period white rich men owned slaves. Black men knew their place in society by respecting the white men. If a black man began to contradict them, there would be serious consequences. The consequences would differ depending on who the white man was.
The goal of Benjamin Banneker was to show his upmost respect to a man who held a very high place in society. As a result he addressed Thomas Jefferson as “Sir” at the beginning of each paragraph. The issue Banneker had was that Jefferson just conclude a conflict between England and the 13 Colonies. Jefferson demanded to have freedom for each individual. Yet he, himself was still a slave owner, as well as allowed enslavement among the colonies. “Sir… your knowledge of the situation… is too extensive to …show more content…

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

Open Document