Banneker's Letter

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Banneker unmasks his views on slavery by dispensing his thoughts onto a letter to Thomas Jefferson. Banneker refutes Thomas Jefferson's published ideas about the inferiority of blacks by quoting Jefferson's Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal". Banneker reveals that the crude treatment to slaves is immoral by using parallelism and appeals. By using parallelism, Banneker demonstrates the unjustness of slavery. He begins his sentences with “Sir” in order to manifest that he views Jefferson as a revered figure. Banneker states, “This Sir, was a time in which you had just apprehensions…” He implies that at that time, Jefferson came to grips of the callous treatment to slaves and publicly declared the valuable doctrine, the Declaration of Independence. Banneker then includes, “Here, Sir, was a time in which your tender feelings…” He repeats his first few words to introduce Jefferson’s newfound comprehension of equality. Therefore, Banneker places the ideas of respect and criticism side by side to generate his point on Jefferson. The appeals presented throughout the letter, aid Banneker in establishing empathy for the slaves. He uses pathos by professing his resentment towards Jefferson’s act as a fraud; he criticizes Jefferson's own shifting stance on the issue. Banneker exclaims how pitiable it is that Jefferson was so “fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of mankind” and that he should at the same time “counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence...” Banneker discloses that he is offended by Jefferson’s counteract, and takes it personally because he is a son of former slaves. Banneker lashes out against Jefferson, uttering that he should be “found guilty of the most criminal act” which he declared publicly in his respect. . Hence, Banneker sought for sympathy for the slaves from Jefferson with the use of pathos. As a result, Banneker is truly resigned on Jefferson’s...
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