In the preamble, King employs the strategy of ethos, a technique which helps build a person’s good character and genuine authority. By referring to the hundred years span as "five score," and recalling the promise inherent in Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, "This momentous decree came as a great beacon of light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity," King not only recalls the former president Abraham Lincoln, but also gains credibility. In particular, King’s illusion to Lincoln, one of the few political figures of American history respected by both African American and Caucasians alike, sets a tone of veracity. Through this allusion, King also sets a framework of honesty and justice in which the white majority could judge the truthfulness of the charges, as ultimately, it is the dominant culture that controls the ability to effect any real changes. Consequently, without the allusion to Abraham Li...
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...lity. Furthermore, the organization of the speech is also quite logical. For instance, King begins by alluding to history, then he portrays a picture of a seething American nightmare of racial injustice and ends the speech with dramatic future by painting the dream of a better, fairer future of racial harmony and integration.
Overall, Martin Luther King’s purpose of this speech was to unite African Americans and Caucasians to fight together for the same cause, rights of African Americans. To successfully convey this purpose, King employed several tools of persuasion in his speech. He did indeed present an example of what could qualify as the "greatest demonstration" of arguments for true freedom for all Americans. He employed the techniques of ethos, pathos and logos, and did it with such skill that his audience likely was only aware of a steering toward unity.
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