Benjamin Banneker Analysis

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Benjamin Banneker, using multiple rhetorical strategies, argued against slavery throughout his letter to Thomas Jefferson, the “framer of the Declaration of Independence.” At the time the letter was written, 1791, Jefferson was the “secretary of state to President George Washington.” Banneker, “the son of former slaves,” was an exceptionally logical man of many talents (i.e. “a farmer, astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, and an author”). Banneker used his knowledge of slavery and his many jobs to intensify his argument against slavery and to drive his point from beginning to end in the letter.
Throughout the entire letter, Banneker applies a respectful, but forceful tone towards Jefferson to argue against slavery. Banneker, trying to keep
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In lines fourteen through seventeen, Banneker quoted “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…” Banneker referred to the Declaration of Independence and its “unalienable rights” to show that slavery was and is unconstitutional. Similar to this, Banneker also referred to the Bible in multiple occasions (i.e. line nine, line twenty-two, line twenty-four, and line thirty-three). Banneker also quoted Job, “a righteous man who endures much suffering” in the Bible. Job said to “put your souls in their souls stead.” He said this because he wanted Jefferson to refer it to himself and slaves, to put himself in their position. Banneker wanted Jefferson to understand how slaves felt and how slavery should be abolished.
From start to finish, Banneker displayed his attitude against slavery perfectly and created a strong argument for Thomas Jefferson to react too. He also applied different rhetorical methods to contribute to the overall persuasive and argumentative tone of the letter. Banneker, with his skilled education and multiple professions, backed up his ideas about slavery that logically portrayed his ideas and image in a reasonable manner. Overall, Benjamin Banneker not only challenged Thomas Jefferson’s ideas and actions of slavery, but he also