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AP English 3 Rhetorical Analysis

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AP English 3 Rhetorical Analysis
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream (1963)” speech, he addresses the idea that in order to fulfill the premise that “all men were created equal,” the people of the nation must work together to move past the injustices inflicted on African Americans in order to ultimately grant them their civil rights. King’s claim is supported by first repeatedly alluding to historically renowned milestones in the fight against oppression and illustrating numerous metaphors to create an emotional connection with his audience. King’s “dream” that he frequently mentions is the nationwide unification to work toward a common goal in order to bring integration of all races and coexist without oppression. By establishing his goal, he creates an earnest tone for the people of America working toward cutting the “manacles of segregation and chains of discrimination.”
King initially draws connections from the current state of African American peoples by referencing allusions to historical documents which assisted in the advances against oppression. In his speech, King begins with a nod to Abraham Lincoln, using “Five score years ago” as his opening statement. He then praises Lincoln, claiming that he was a “symbolic shadow in which we [the people] stand today” and mentions his effort toward the ending of slavery, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, the signing of the document was only a literal end to slavery, but in reality, African Americans were still enslaved by society. King was aware that slavery had been abolished, but obstacles such as Jim Crow laws were almost as detrimental to the Negros as slavery. Although, as he emphasizes, the Declaration of Independence evidently states that “all men are created equal,” African Americans were still being denied their unalienable rights. In theory, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were to be given to all Americans, regardless of color, but for the Negros, liberty was remarkably lacking. By alluding to



Cited: King, Martin L. "I Have a Dream Speech." Speech. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. 28 Aug. 1963. Jefferson, Thomas. "The Declaration of Independence." 4 July 1776. Print. Lincoln, Abraham. "Gettysburg Address." Speech. Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg. 19 Nov. 1863.

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