Banneker: United States Declaration of Independence and Jefferson Essay

Submitted By statum4
Words: 601
Pages: 3

Thomas Jefferson presented cogent, wholly logical, nearly incontrovertible arguments against England’s unjust repression of the American colonists; little did he know that his own words might be used to plead with exceptional logic that he and his fellow founders of the United States should stop repressing black Americans. Banneker uses both logical and ethical arguments to develop his claim that Jefferson now needs to use his eloquence to speak out for all African-Americans, who are suffering “the injustice of a state of slavery” in the very country that had itself only fifteen years earlier been freed from enslavement. Creating a carefully structured argument based on an extended analogy, Banneker uses repetition for emphasis, direct and forceful word choices, a serious and straightforward tone, and a fitting biblical allusion to challenge Jefferson to confront his own hypocrisy and to atone for it by working to rid America of slavery. Banneker begins his argument by straightforwardly addressing Jefferson: “Recall to your mind that time [my italics] in which the arms and tyranny of the British Crown were exerted . . .to reduce you to a State of Servitude.” He continues to develop this analogy between Jefferson and his fellow Revolutionary War partners as victims of British “tyranny” and Banneker and his fellow black Americans as victims of whites’ tyranny. The first sentence of the second paragraph begins with a reference to “a time” [my italics] in which Jefferson “clearly saw into the injustice of a state of slavery”; and the first sentence of the third paragraph, likewise, begins with a reference to “a time” [my italics] in which he valued “liberty and the free possession of those blessings to which you were entitled by nature.” That “time” to which Banneker continually alludes by repetition is the time in which Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, of course. By thus confronting Jefferson with his own eloquent argument for freedom from repression and for personal liberty, Banneker makes a powerful use of both logos and ethos to cement his argument. He then concludes his argument with the words of another highly respected text, the Bible, when he asks Jefferson to do as Job advised and “put your souls in their souls stead”: in other words, Jefferson and his fellow supporters of freedom and