Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter To Benjamin Banneker

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When The Second Continental Congress approved of the Declaration of Independence, it purposefully avoided the complicated situation that was slavery. African Americans, both freed and enslaved, were outraged. How could the Founding Fathers write such a riveting and long document for themselves, while completely ignoring the African American struggle for freedom on the basis of skin tone? The hypocrisy was too much for Benjamin Banneker, who took it upon himself to write a letter to Thomas Jefferson about the atrocities of slavery, and persuade him to abolish the practice. In it, Banneker used allusions, a melancholy diction, and deductive reasoning to state his argument against the enslavement of his color. Immediately, Banneker began his argument with an allusion to the status of colonies before the Revolutionary War. He stated,”Sir, suffer me to recall to your mind which the arms and tyranny of the British Crown were exerted with every powerful effort in order to reduce you to a State of Servitude, look back I entreat you on the variety of dangers to which you were exposed…”. This reference reminded Jefferson of the overbearing British, which was very parallel to the relationship between Americans and slaves at the time of the letter. This comparison was made to Jefferson because he was a major proponent of the American Revolution,…show more content…
He uses “fraud”, “pitiable”, “violence”, “groaning captivity”, “cruel oppression”, “guilty”, and “criminal” in his letter. He used these words because they personally resonated with Jefferson. They refer to slavery, but they could also describe many aspects of the status of the colonies before the Revolution. This connection from slavery to the Revolution, along with the inherent connotation of the words, appealed to Jefferson’s emotions, giving him an unfavorable view of slavery and further convincing him to favor the dissolution of
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