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Benjamin Banneker - a Free African American Almanac

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        Benjamin Bannekar, a free African American almanac, wrote to Jefferson effectively using rhetorical such as allusion, appeals to emotion, and utilizes both logos and pathos in his writing to argue against slavery.

        In lines 1-5, Bannekar alludes to the time in history in which the former colonies were under British ruling. He alludes to this to appeal to Jefferson’s logic, that he, and revolutionaries of that time, were unsettled by the overbearing power and suffering they were put under during the reign of King George, and compares this to the same cruel, unjustly act of slavery, which he should share the same feelings for. Later, in lines 21-25, Bannekar alludes also to the Declaration of Independence, in which Jefferson hypocritically claims that “all men were created equal”, while also still supporting slavery, as most men in his time. He thus shines a mirror to that hypocrisy and claims that Jefferson should “be found guilty of that most criminal act”.

        Bannekar uses appeals to emotion, also, in order to condemn slavery and to convince Jefferson of its cruelty in lines 4-11. He pleads that Jefferson must reflect on how human aid, hope and fortitude seemed unreachable during the time of the revolution, and how those feelings are shared by those who’ve been enslaved. This allows Jefferson to look back on the lack of hopefulness the colonies shared when facing against the British crown and gives way to feelings of empathy for slaves which Bennekar could use to enrich his argument. He does this again in lines 35-41 where he states that Jefferson is in fact guilty of what he claims to be against: the maltreatment of others and the persistent inequality found in society. Questioning whether Jefferson’s most fundamental moral, equality between all men, is in fact fraud would force him to re-evaluate his position.



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