"I Have a Dream" Analysis

Topics: United States, Southern United States, African American Pages: 2 (518 words) Published: April 25, 2013
"I have a dream" Analysis

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is most likely one of the greatest speeches in American history. An audience of 200,000 white and black Americans gathered in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his groundbreaking speech. This essay will analyze the speech for voice and rhetoric by showing MLK's main argument, how he supports that argument, identifying the language he used and the audience at whom it was directed.

The first analysis is on MLK's argument. MLK argues that all men are equal and should be treated equal. Many times in his speech, he states how black citizens have been mistreated over the years. In the beginning of his speech King states "One hundred year later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination." King also states numerous times his dream for equality in the country. He says "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

MLK uses many historical documents to support his argument. The first document he mentions is the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order signed by President Lincoln freeing the slaves in the confederate states. It was the first step in equality for African-Americans. He also mentions the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He references these documents and our founding father's promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all men, black or white.

His voice in the speech is very sophisticated. King uses many large and descriptive words in his speech, rather than short and direct words. Through out the speech, King uses numerous metaphors such as "America has given the Negro a bad check, which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'" Another...
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