Topic

The speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. focuses on the general topic of the Memphis sanitation strike, talking about unity, economic boycotts, and peaceful protests. These issues are connected to universal themes like violence, progress, and religion.

The M…

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Social progress

The first part of the speech focuses on the theme of social progress, as the speaker makes numerous allusions to different historical events that improved humanity: “I would come on up even to 1863, and wat…

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Unity and non-violence

Exploring the Memphis protests, the speaker calls for unity and non-violence as means to achieve their goals: “It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity.…

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Economic boycotts

King also explores practical means of fighting discrimination against African Americans by discussing economic boycotts. He proposes that African American…

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Religion and religious teachings

Finally, the whole speech is filled with religious allusions meant to show the audience how religion and religious teachings can guide their actions of protest: “We mean …

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Argumentation

Martin Luther King uses a combination of direct and hidden argumentation in his speech.  Direct argumentation means he expresses his views and arguments explicitly. This is noticeable when the speaker argues for unity or non-violent means of protest: “It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity.”; “…is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence i…

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