Benjamin Banneker Essay

312 Words2 Pages
Benjamin Banneker, former slave turned farmer, astronomer, mathematician, surveyor and author utilized 3 rhetorical strategies in this excerpt to strengthen his argument. Pathos, formal diction, and repetition were used in order to evoke strong emotion and more passion. These 3 rhetorical strategies not only made his letter stronger and more passionate but it also caused Thomas Jefferson to think about the decisions that he would have to make in the near future. Pathos was used throughout the entire letter, however it was most strongly used when Banneker reflects on America’s feelings of being oppressed by the British. “look back… on the variety of dangers to which you were exposed; reflect on that time in which every human aid appeared unavailable, and in which even hope and fortitude wore the aspect of inability to the conflict and you cannot but be led to a serious and grateful sense of your miraculous and providential preservation.” Banneker is making a connection between slavery and the oppression that America has been through in order to have Jefferson relate to how slaves feel about being “under groaning captivity and cruel oppression.” In addition to Pathos, Banneker used formal diction to exhibit the vastness of being free as well as the horrors of slavery. He utilized phrases such as “...tranquility which you enjoy…” and “...apprehension of the horrors…” in order to have his audience, in this case Thomas Jefferson, relate to what he’s feeling. Banneker also alludes to the Revolutionary War when he says, “... recall to your mind that time in which the arms and tyranny of the British Crown were exerted with every powerful effort in order to reduce you to a State of Servitude...”. His strong diction evokes emotion into Thomas Jefferson as Banneker makes the point that Britain's tyrannical rule on America is similar to African Americans being forced into “a
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