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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream

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William Ramirez

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream

Rhetorical Analysis

I Have a Dream
Martin Luther King, Jr. effectively uses a variety of techniques with regards to delivery, rhetorical appeals, and figures of speech in order to accomplish his purpose of campaigning to end racial discrimination in America.
Figure of Speech
Martin Luther King, Jr. effectively uses figures of speech to add intensity and meaning to his argument
Delivery and Diction
Delivery includes both how he says his words and how he delivers the speech, such as pauses, choice of words(diction), etc.
Rhetorical Appeals
In his speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. uses elements of each of the 3 rhetorical appeals to help strengthen his argument: ethos, pathos, and logos.
Figures of Speech (Continued)
The purpose of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech was to spark questions of America's values and encourage the citizens to uphold these values. He was effectively able to accomplish this through the way he delivered his speech, his use of rhetorical appeals, and his use of figure of speech
Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the civil rights movement leaders
Delivered 28 August 1963,
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Main Issues:
True Freedom
Civil Rights
MLK's Dream
End racism
Convince the nation of the harm racism has caused and is causing
Inspire those of color to protest non-violently for their rights
Reform the nation's social stature
List of Techniques
tone of voice
rhetorical appeals
figures of speech
use of "strong" words
indicate urgency
indicate seriousness
indicate anger
indicate compassion as well
Avoids idioms
King was already established as one of the most well-spoken civil rights activists of his time.

King references universally accepted pieces legislation (Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence) and explain how they coincide
with his argument.
- Referring to the struggles that the black community have faced and are facing

- Threatening that there will be a "rude awakening" if change doesn't take place

- Mentioning his children and his hopes for their future
- (As in ethos) referencing documents such as The Emancipation Proclamation and The Declaration of Independence to validate his argument

- Raising the point that an equal and united naton would be more prosperous than a divided country
Repeating of a phrase or word multiple times at the beginning of sentences.
Creates structure and organization for the ideas presented.
Dr. King references the Bible, as well as, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Declaration of Independence to influence both the emotion and reasoning of the audience
His dream was for a nation of equality for all regardless of race, religion, etc.
His dream has come true.
He encouraged non-violence protest
Civil rights advocates demanded reform with non-violence
Final Outcome
He was awarded a Noble Peace Prize for leading the Civil Rights Movement through non-violent protest
He, among other, were the main leaders who led to the removal of segregation, and the integration of public services.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
"I Have a Dream"
by Martin Luther King Jr.
Stasis Theory of the Argument
Argument is based on the Action aspect of stasis theory
What should we do about this issue?
What actions are possible?
What proposals shall we make about it?
He spoke with confidence
Demonstrated authority and knowledge in his words

Allowed for his argument to feel much more stronger and inspiring.

Adds emphasis to specific ideas, words, or phrases
Allows listener to think about the ideas being presented.
Audio Source: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm
Text Source: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm;
"I am happy to join with you today in what will go
down in history as the greatest demonstration for
freedom in the history of our nation."

Adds relatable aspect with the audience

"Bad Check... marked 'insufficient funds'" and "Bank of Justice"
"...thirst for freedom by drinking front he cup of bitterness and hatred."
"One hundred years later..."
"Now is the time..."
"We cannot..."
"I have a Dream..."

"... 'unalienable rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"... until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

"Let freedom ring from the might mountains of New York."
"Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania."...
Full transcript