Malcolm X: The Ballot Or The Bullet

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Saagar Patel 3/13/12 Research rough draft Malcolm X “The Ballot or The Bullet” Freedom, this was the ideal that that America founded on, yet only half a century ago America was one of the most oppressive nations of the time. During that time few civil rights activists were as influential and as crucial to the civil rights movement as Malcolm X. due to his first hand exposure to poverty and violence along with the fact that his father had been killed by a white supremacy group, further fueled his hate for “whites.” His speech, The Ballot or the Bullet, is a well-crafted argument and call to arms against any government that is oppressive to law-abiding citizens. Born May 19, 1925, to Earl Little and Louise Norton…show more content…
It was quite lengthy and used very forceful language to tell congress to uphold their promises or be subject to the violence of the African-American people. Malcolm X began his speech by acknowledging that he was still a Muslim, but he quickly added that he did not intend to discuss religion or any other issues that divide African-Americans. Instead, he was going to emphasize the common experience of African-Americans of all faiths. He then says “it doesn’t mean that we’re anti-white…and degrading us.” This is powerful because while he hates white people he says right here that this isn’t a fight against white people; it’s a fight against degradation and exploitation. He then reminds them that since a lot of elections are very close the black population voting as a unified bloc had all the power. This is important because the main theme of the speech is a debate of…show more content…
He says, “if the white man doesn’t want the black man buying rifles then let the government do its job,” which furthers his point of “the Ballot or the Bullet.” Immediately after he finishes that he explains the hypocrisy of America in that they will send armies of people to secure free elections in Cuba but it doesn’t have free elections it-self. He then sends a threat to the government specifically the politicians in D.C. He says if they don’t stop debating over the issues with a non-violent army, then a violent army will go down there and force change. He again contradicts him-self here because first he advocated violence then non-violence and now he is back to violence. He wraps up his speech by calling-out a particular person. This gives his audience a tangible person they can blame now instead of just the government as a whole. He ends by saying “in 1964 it’s the ballot or the bullet.” He reminds his audience exactly what his speech was about because it was very long, and also calls them to action right there. As a whole the speech calls the government to action to make good on their promises of freedom at the threat of violence and

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