Ethos, Pathos, Logos in MLK's I Have a Dream

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  • Ethos
  • Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Logos
  • When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Declaration of Indepedence
  • Pathos
  • I have a dream that one day one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
  • Ethos is demonstrated here in the first few lines of MLK's I Have a Dream speech. He references Abraham Lincoln and likens himself and his cause to another iteration of Lincoln's values and desires. He is in the same spot as Lincoln and is fighting for the same cause, the equality of black Americans. A cause that is good and just like president American Lincoln.
  • This appeals to the sense of Logos because since the Declaration of Independence and Constitution give rights to all men, why is it that black men are not given the same rights as white men as detailed in these documents?
  • This creates an image of happiness, peace, and unity in the minds of the audience which uses pathos. The image of children being unified akin to brothers and sisters appeals to parents specifically through their desire for their children's happiness
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