The American Rhetoric is an American based website that provides among the best 100 speeches in the United States. Additionally, this website provides the speeches, which are considered as influential in facilitating specific achievements and actions. I have a Dream by Martin Luther Jr. is considered as one of the greatest speeches in the history of the American society. The speech was issued by Martin Luther King Jr. in his call for a great demonstration to ensure the presence of racial parity in the American society.
The subject of the speech by Martin Luther King Jr. was based on the need for freedom for the black community or what the speaker at that period termed as “Negro Community”. He adds that even after the emancipation of the slaves who were essentially black people they are still bonded in terms of their freedom. They have been subjected to injustices of segregation and discrimination by the impliedly superior white race (American Rhetoric, 11).
The speaker bases his argument on the constitution of the United States and the declaration of independence, which was a guarantee to the American people that they would posses the ability to liberty and the ability to pursue happiness. The purpose of the speech was to seek support from the black support through the rally for demonstration of the unity of the black people. In addition, it was also aimed at showing the world that the black community was fed up with the injustices propagated against them such as segregation, brutality, and unequal; access to resources (Dyson, 27).
The audience of the speech was aimed at the government, which was essentially controlled by the white community. In addition, the speech also incorporates calls for unity amongst the black community in their fight for the freedom, which was promised in the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, as well as the constitution. In addition, the speech was delivered on August 28 1963 at the steps of the Lincoln memorial in a march to Washington for calls to equality in access to jobs and freedom. The speaker also devotes parts of speech to critics of the calls for equality. He adds that they are defensive in the calls for equality in that they want to maintain the status quo of superiority and inferiority among the racial groupings in the American society.
The claims by the civil society in terms of their opposition towards the great march, which advocated for equal rights to employment and other forms of liberties in the American community, could be simply termed as hypocritical. This is because the civil society is tasked with criticizing and calling for equality in any community. Hence, they were insufficient in their roles of ensuring that the prejudices and injustices present during that period. On the other hand, it was logical for Martin Luther to initiate the march and the calls for equality in access to resources such as social amenities and employment. The values of the American people at that time were accustomed to the presence of inequality and segregation based or the racial divides. This was enhanced by the presence of brutality against the black community, restrictions in access to social amenities such as hospitals, beaches, parks, education, restaurants and voting rights.
The predominant issues in the martin Luther king speech were the presence of injustices propagated against other races based on race, black and white. In addition, the constitution also provided the equality in “unalienable rights” of all American citizens and adequate access to individual liberties and pursuit of happiness irrespective of any social or racial classification. This emphasis that there was dire need for alleviation of the conditions present in the American society in terms of prejudices, societal injustices propagated against the black community such as denial of employment based on racial classification.
The speaker focuses on the use of logic to appeal to the government to ensure that the constitution is actualized in enabling the presence of equality as promised in the constitution as well as by the Emancipation Proclamation. Appeal to the ethics of the American society is also put into focus by the speaker in that he talks of the need to ensure that society relegates issues such as segregation and racial injustices, which made up the American society during that period.
Several fallacies are evidenced in the speech by Martin Luther. He uses appeal to novelty by assuming changes in the system of governance in the then American society. He uses the novelty, which is appealing to his primary audience that is the black community as he seeks support to form a march to Washington to seek equality and freedom for the black community in a prejudicial society (Eemeren, 19). He appeals from a strawman fallacy perspective in that he argues that the government and the American society has failed in its role of ensuring that the black community is able to access equal opportunities.
The values and beliefs of the then American society were based on the presence of racial prejudice, as it was believed that black people and white people were different in terms of the levels of their intellects. The white people were believed to be superior to the black people who were considered as inferior racially and intellectually. Hence, the black community was disallowed from access to the various resources, social amenities as well as the legal rights.
The second source is The Living Room Candidate provides for the most profound presidential or election commercials in the United States. This advertisement was issued between the main contenders Barrack Obama and his main rival John McCain of the United States election of the year 2008. This was one of the most fiercely contended elections specifically in the presidential race. It resulted in the election of the first African-American president in the American history. The main contenders in the race had not served in political positions such as president or vice president positions of the United States since the year 1952. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the year 2004 were major political issues which had assumed an important role in the decision making process for the electorate in choosing the future president of the United States.
The 2008 was one of the most publicized elections given that the main contestants had opposing ideas and the presence of numerous channels of communication. Technology played a significant role in enabling conscious debates between the two main candidates Barrack Obama and his main rival John McCain, which were aired on various mass media platforms such as the internet, television, newspapers and radio stations. The internet played a significant role in the campaigns in that it enabled the two competing parties to discredit each other without turning the debates into personal issues (Museum of the Moving Image, 12).
The Country I Love advertisement shows the main contender for the presidential election Barrack Obama making a pledge to what he describes as “the country I love” in terms of the expectations and demands he seeks to actualize after he takes oath of office (Museum of the Moving Image. 17). The advertisement assumes numerous perspectives in terms of appeal to the audience. The speaker, Barrack Obama focuses on the ethical and moral values of the American society. He uses such an approach as the electorate aims at electing an individual with good virtues and respect for the ethical and moral values of the American society.
The main issues of the debate and campaign advertisement were the moral and ethical values of the American society. Additionally another primary focus was the economy of the United States, which was under a recession brought about by the credit and mortgage crisis. The crisis was one of the main issues because of its devastating effects on the American economy as well as on the American people. The advertisements of the year 2008 were notably aggressive and succinct in terms of objectivity in comparison to advertisements used in previous elections. Furthermore, the election advertisements are considered to be among the most advertisements because of the presence of numerous media channels for advertising the views of the main parties in the presidential race (Eemeren, 38).
The advertisement of the presidential elect barrack Obama focuses on the presence of change. This essentially is a fallacy of appeal to novelty or the new. This is because of the promises of adoption of new policies, which would ensure the end of war as well as ensure prosperity of the American country. In addition, the advertisement also focuses on the majority of the populations’ attitude towards the involvement of the United States in foreign countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. This is defined as a fallacy as it appeals to the population’s resentment towards the wars. This enabled the main contender to accrue favor and appeal from the population. Additionally his view of ensuring lowered taxes and providing the retired soldiers (Eemeren, 22).
The speaker uses the strawman fallacy as he seeks to appeal to the opponent’s weak points such as irrelevant foreign policies and unwarranted spending as result of the unprecedented wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the inadequate economic policies leading to the recession (Eemeren, 22). On the other hand, the advertisement or speech also appeals to a part of the population because of the presence of specific issues to which they agree with the speaker. However, other issues are a source of conflict as the identified part of the populace is in disagreement with the speaker. The speaker also focuses on the traditional values of the American society to which the American society has been built on firmly. This is a fallacy which appeals to the tradition of the American people in terms of the values such as morals and ethics shared by the entire American population.
American Rhetoric. “Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream.” American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches. 2012. Web. 10th October 2012. Accessed from
Dyson, Michael E. I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Free Press, 2000. Print.
Eemeren, F H. Strategic Maneuvering in Argumentative Discourse: Extending the Pragma-Dialectical Theory of Argumentation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub, 2010. Print.
Museum of the Moving Image. “2008 Obama VS. McCain” Museum of The Moving image: The Living Room Candidate. 2012. Web. 10th October 2012. Accessed from http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008