Compare and Contrast Essay

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Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” are texts that have a common denominator: the pursuit of liberty. Although both documents do not focus their context in the same historical moment, both have greatly influenced the history of the United States. Specifically, Jefferson’s purpose with the “Declaration of Independence” was to denounce the offenses suffered at the hands of Great Britain and to finally declare their absolute independence, sovereignty and liberty. On the other hand, Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream” exhorts people to end the discrimination towards Negroes and finally, their freedom. In the “Declaration of Independence”, Jefferson employs a very clear and concise language. He used this powerful language in order to use it as an instrument of social and political change. His wordplay is a very persuasive and strong one. The language of the “Declaration of Independence” is more complicated because it is a document written in 1776 and some of the words written in it are not used so often today. In the speech "I Have a Dream", Martin Luther King also used words of strong connotation. It is a speech written mostly in the form of sermon, which is influenced by King, who served as a Baptist clergyman. Both texts employ a highly persuasive language that is mainly directed to their respective audiences. When we analyze the “Declaration of Independence”, we can realize that Jefferson makes a list of statements to prove the absolute Tyranny, which is present over the States. He uses these to persuade and convince the audience. Also, he repeats phrases such as “He has…” and “For…” to emphasize the facts he is presenting. Basically, the “Declaration of Independence” is a deductive argument, a form which begins with a principle and is followed by details, examples, and reasoning. Finally, “I Have a Dream” is the union of many literary techniques. King’s use of repetition in phrases like "I have a...
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