Letter from Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis- Martin Luth

1381 words 6 pages
Gurpreet Singh 10-01-10
Mr. Baldwin E5X-02 Martin Luther King, Jr. Analytical Essay

Violence, force, bribery. These are just the few of the many ways figures all throughout

history have come to implement their ideas among others. Whether it be through force or logic,

there needs to be some form for persuasion to pass of your claim. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

promoter of social justice, utilized rhetorical strategies to persuade his opponents of his claims.

When Dr. King received a letter from eight Alabama clergy men, attacking his works for civil

rights, he wrote back to them employing the rhetorical strategies of pathos,
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The most exemplary use of logos in King’s letter

was when he said, Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation.