Analysis of Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson

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Analysis of Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Banneker was a free African American who lived during a time when slavery was still prominent in America. As a free African America, Banneker knew the joys of freedom. In 1791 he wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson in which he urged Jefferson to put an end to slavery in America by using his powerful influence in the government. Jefferson, a slave owner himself, was a major supporter for independence during the American Revolution; in this letter to Jefferson Banneker wants to show Jefferson that he is contradicting his previous beliefs by not abolishing slavery. Banneker aims to use Jefferson’s own experiences and principles in order to persuade him to get rid of slavery in the states. Banneker is very passionate in his letter to Jefferson, expressing a vehement urge for the abolition of slavery. Banneker mainly integrates the mechanics of appeals to logic and ethics, loaded words, and logical rhetorical structure in order to persuade Jefferson. Banneker’s letter to Jefferson is filled with examples of appeals to logic and ethics. Banneker wants Jefferson to see that by keeping slavery legal he is going against everything that he fought for in the American Revolution. Banneker cleverly uses Jefferson’s own words from the Declaration of Independence against him when he quotes this phrase: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” By using Jefferson’s own words against him in this way Banneker could possibly be attempting to cause Jefferson to do some “soul-searching” and to reconsider how he regards slave’s rights to freedom. Banneker then goes on to say that when Jefferson wrote this he was “impressed with proper
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