Banneker Essay

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Natural and legal rights Pages: 2 (736 words) Published: August 25, 2013
Americans live and fight for their unalienable rights today, just as they did when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, setting all men equal. By 1791 slavery became a major issue in the nation, causing Benjamin Banneker to question if the rights still ring true. In his persuasive letter to Thomas Jefferson himself, Banneker urges Jefferson to take a stand against slavery through the use of emotional appeal, loaded words, and mixed syntax proving that one can overcome prejudice when fighting for a common cause.

Banneker begins by reflecting back on America’s history, allowing Jefferson to remember when he was under British control and fighting for their “freedom and tranquility” from the British Crown, and urges him to remember when “every human aid appeared unavailable.” Banneker plays on Jefferson’s emotions during his remonstrance making sure he will bring freedom to his people. Connecting to the same tortures slaves go through, Jefferson can see that what he fought so hard to abolish arises in his own nation yet again and that’s these slaves are suffering through what he went through. This connection between seemingly different groups of people to Jefferson closes this gap and proves that they are not as different as he may think. Banneker then goes on to quote Jefferson’s own words he wrote in the Declaration, reiterating the “blessings to which [they] were entitled by nature.” This gives Jefferson time to reflect back over his words and how meaningful they are not only to him but also to America as a whole and what it was founded on and realize that all men are no longer equal in the nation he helped to build. Through this Banneker hopes Jefferson will take action to reestablish these rights.

Banneker uses piercing word choice throughout his letter, shedding light on the wrong doings toward his people. He begins again by describing the “horrors” and “tyranny” of the British with America under their control, and then connects these...
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