Rhetorical Analysis of Artifact: The Ballot or the Bullet

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Rhetorical Analysis of Artifact: The Ballot or the Bullet Speech Given by Malcolm X I. Introduction: Though almost half a century has passed, the Civil Rights Movement remains one freshly imprinted in not only the history books of US schools but also in the minds of countless Americans. Albeit, American society has come quite a ways in the acceptance of the individual - regardless of sex, age, creed or ethnicity - prejudices of different sorts are still to be found throughout every one of the united states of America. The Civil Rights Movement fought to overcome the racial inequalities inherent and ingrained in the minds of America's citizens and the government which they oversaw; it was one of the most important eras in the history of the United States of America and for that reason, its leaders and their words are widely studied, remembered and, frequently, revered. One such case of this remembrance is that of Malcolm X's speech "The Ballot or the Bullet." Generally viewed as one of the top ten most significant speeches in American history, one must wonder at what factors have contributed to the speech's longevity and implied importance. For one, the speech was given during the height of this movement and by a greatly influential leader of the time. Yet the speech contains merits all its own that allow it to remain powerful long after its orator has ceased to be. For one, the artifact is filled with forcible and compelling language that would provoke some sort of feeling in anyone who reads it. Furthermore, it utilizes a broad spectrum of rhetorical devices which keep the audience captivated and interested. Howev... ... middle of paper ... ...ing at a table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate." Thus, Malcolm X uses his speech to unify the Negroes on two fronts: in the sense that they must stand together against the suppression of the whites and that they must endure their "non-Americanism" amongst the company of one another. Yet, as soon as he has done this, Malcolm X turns to make, what might seem, a paradoxical and fairly non-artistic case as for why the black populace is indeed American. He begins by introducing the non-artistic proof that black Americans were originally slaves, working for the profit of the white man. In this sense, he then uses an enthymeme to equate the United State's current state of wealth to the work of those long-dead slaves; the blacks are therefore responsible for the US being a rich nation.

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