The House Divided Speech Essay example

The House Divided Speech Essay example

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The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln in 1858 with the goal to make a distinction between himself and Douglas, and to openly talk about a prognostication for time to come. Unlike Douglas, who had long supported popular sovereignty, under which the settlers in each new territory determine their own place as a slave or free state, Lincoln considered that all states had to be the same in order to become a united country. Although Lincoln’s intentions seemed to be pure, the complication with the speech is that it is not absolutely probable because of the fallacies within its wording. This speech may have appeared to be powerful and even authentic in its upholding points, but the fallacies must be recognized. Among these fallacies are false dilemma, ambiguity, appeal to authority, name-calling, and sequential fallacies.
One of the most acclaimed rhetorical strategies was used in the very title of the document. Lincoln used the metaphor of a “house divided” to depict the separation of the North and South over slavery. Lincoln provided an image to the audience by saying “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and made it so the audience was forced to think of the issue in a sensible perspective instead of a conceptual one. After this, Lincoln concluded the main idea of his speech by giving the audience a call to action if the form of a false dilemma. Lincoln states clearly that the country “…will become all one thing or all the other,” and by doing that he gave the audience two options, either they support slavery or they don’t. This false dilemma is a type of informal fallacy that involved a situation in which only limited alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional optio...


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...ecision finally made in the case.” This quote is example of the fallacy of name-calling saying that this all happened because Dred Scott was a Negro.
The final fallacy, sequential fallacy, refers to notion that simply because one thing happened after another, the first even was a cause of the second event. “Before the then next presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requested the leading advocate of the Nebraska Bill to state his opinion whether the people of a territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits; and the latter answers” Lincoln is saying that the election caused the outcome of the Dred Scott case, committing the fallacy of name calling.

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