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Summary Of Benjamin Banneker's Letter To Jefferson

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Benjamin Banneker, in his letter to Thomas Jefferson, offers a series of arguments against the institution of slavery through a respectful tone, references to history, and the Bible. As a son of former slaves, Banneker is seeking justice for the black population and uses Jefferson’s own words against him as he speaks on behalf of “Black America.” He shares his opinions with Jefferson, who is higher authority, in a respectful manner while still managing to criticize him. Banneker starts off his letter to Jefferson by calling his “Sir.” He refers to Jefferson this way because he wants to be respectful to this man who exists as a higher authority as a politician. Banneker know his place in terms that he is black, so he is not treated as equal. Banneker brings up the fact that Jefferson knows how he feels, as Jefferson has gone through having his freedom stripped from him. Banneker tells Jefferson to recall the time when “the arms and tyranny” of the king were applied with a stern effort to reduce him to a “State of Servitude.”…show more content…
One of the historical references he makes is quoting a section from the Declaration of Independence. He quotes the beginning of the Declaration of Independence when it mentions that “All men are created equal” and that men have unalienable rights, which are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He tells Jefferson that the black men and women of America are not given these rights. They are not given the right to life because they are slaves. They are not given the right to liberty because they are slaves. They are not given the right to the pursuit of happiness because they are slaves. Banneker also references how Jefferson needs to stop acting like King Henry did and give the slaves their freedom. He explains how Jefferson should know how it feels to have his freedom stripped away from him, and that it is wrong to do the same thing to “Black
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