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Name: Professor: Class Course: Date of Submission: Martin Luther King Speech: I Have a Dream Introduction Racial relations in America have had a rather tenuous past. Over the course of American history, different racial groups have experienced some degree of conflict with each other owing to factors that have no legitimate basis. The nature of these conflicts has been such that white Americans had an unfavorable view of black Americans, Hispanics and Asians. However, it should be noted that interracial tension has also been experienced between non-white racial groups. The one conflict that has received much attention owing to its long history is that between white Americans and African Americans. This conflict owes its roots to the slave trade that saw many individuals uprooted from their homes in Africa to work in white-owned plantations in the United States. Based on this, white Americans treated African Americans as inferior to them. This continued for a long time before African American civil rights leaders such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr came to the fore and led a civil revolution that changed America greatly. Audience The intended or target audience for this speech was twofold; both white and African Americans. The speech sought to inspire African Americans to continue to surge forward against adversity in their quest for equality. It sought to fill them with renewed hope of a better future where racial relations could be underpinned by justice and mutual understanding, where self-dignity was an assured right bolstered by an atmosphere of equality. On the other hand, it also sought to remind white Americans that the racial conditions obtaining at that moment in time were guaranteed to end at some point as society moved towards equal civil rights. By doing so, the speech intended to encourage them to change their viewpoint from one characterized by a superiority complex to one that fostered mutual cooperation. The speaker, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, was born in 1929 to a Baptist father and school teacher mother in Atlanta, Georgia. Having grown up in a place where the vagaries of skewed racial relations between white and African Americans commonly played out, Dr King became conscious of the need to make a change at a young age. He rose to leadership positions in the civil rights movement and inspired millions across the United States and the world (King). Ethos, Logos and Pathos The ethos in the speech can be observed right at the beginning where Dr King invokes the name of President Lincoln and calls him a ‘great American’ while reminding the audience of the Emancipation Proclamation (American Rhetoric). Dr King uses this means of persuasion to create an aura of great authority around him. The intended effect is for the audience to believe in what he says and advocates for since it is in line with the thinking of a venerated American president. It should be noted that since President Lincoln was a white American, Dr King sought to use his image to reach out to those white Americans who held racially-biased views. In a sense, he sought to show this part of his audience that even a white American who lived before their time was in support of equality and freedom for all. Logos has been utilized in the speech to try and convince the audience of the self-evident nature of Dr King’s argument. For example, in the speech, Dr King says that the Declaration of Independence was a guarantee of liberty to all Americans (American Rhetoric). In essence, the Declaration of Independence placed no restriction on African Americans in terms of citizenship and its attendant rights. As a matter of fact it was unequivocal in its assertion that all men are created equal. By appealing to this logic, Dr King sought to highlight the self-defeating nature of racial bigotry. Further, given the fact that all the signatories to the Declaration of Independence were white Americans, it would be hypocritical for white Americans to look down upon African Americans thereby repudiating the fundamental tenets of this vastly important document. Finally, Dr King employed pathos in this speech with great abandon. The majority of the spe...
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