Benjamin Banneker

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Benjamin Banneker’s writing to Thomas Jefferson suggests his dissatisfaction towards Jefferson’s actions and hypocrisy towards slavery. Banneker’s purpose seems to critique Jefferson in the form of bitter tone and examination of his ideals and actions. Banneker conveys a bitter tone in order to assert his claims towards Jefferson. In his letter, Banneker shows distinct irony, political diction and a somewhat mocking tone to imply the discontent he feels in regards to the issue of slavery. Banneker insinuates his oppression of slavery by analyzing Jefferson’s actions towards slavery. He evaluates Jefferson point of view of how he clearly say the “injustice of slavery.” Banneker wants to call attention to the fact that Jefferson is aware of how the injustice of the actions of enslaving his fellow men, regardless of race. Banneker furthermore supports his critique of Jefferson by referencing to the Declaration of Independence in quoting the importance of our “unalienable rights” and how everyone is entitled to them, under Jefferson’s own Declaration. By quoting the Declaration of Independence, we notice Banneker illustrating the irony of the fact that Jefferson has failed to address slaves with the “unalienable rights” he stated in the Declaration. Banneker’s political and precise diction is apparent in the text, and this is used as a way to assert the hypocritical nature of Jefferson. Banneker is writing to Jefferson in a personal letter to show the obviousness of Jefferson’s contradictions and how slavery should be re-examined. He even states that the “valuation of liberty” reflect in all of mankind to convey an urgency of equality and fairness towards everyone. Banneker is drawing a conclusion that liberty is entitled to slaves, as well as everyone. Banneker chose to use words that Jefferson would identify with and support his own ideals. Banneker implies a bitter tone towards Jefferson throughout the letter. Banneker’s dissatisfaction becomes...
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