Rhetorical Analysis Of Benjamin Banneker's Letter

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Writing is one of the most basic means of human expression. In writing, people often try to persuade others by making arguments filled with rhetorical strategies. This is the case with Benjamin Banneker’s letter to Thomas Jefferson, regarding the issue of slavery. Benjamin Banneker was a son of former slaves, who was a farmer, astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, and author. In his letter, Benjamin Banneker is basically trying to convince Thomas Jefferson that slavery is bad and that he should try and end it. He employs three main rhetorical strategies to make his argument persuasive. Banneker makes Jefferson recall a personal experience, uses allusions, and keeps his tone very respectful throughout the letter, in order to make him understand and want to end slavery. Banneker starts the letter by making Jefferson recall his own experience under British rule, employing his first strategy. Banneker does this to make…show more content…
This is perhaps most important as they help his argument the most. In the letter, Banneker alludes to the Bible and the declaration of independence. Alluding to these texts is very effective, because they are important to Jefferson, since he was a religious man, and helped write the declaration of Independence. He uses the declaration of independence to argue against slavery when after quoting it, Banneker says to Jefferson that, even though you were convinced that god created all men equal, you still own slaves. He is basically calling Jefferson a hypocrite and making him question his morality. Though he uses religion throughout the letter, he specifically quotes the bible in the last paragraph. The specific quote is about putting yourself into someone else’s situation, prompting Jefferson to put himself in the position of the slaves. By using these allusions, it’s like he is saying, would the devout Thomas Jefferson who wrote the declaration of independence not be against
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