Logos, ethos, and pathos

Table of contents


In “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. appeals to readers’ reason when he uses logical arguments or facts to support his views. Throughout the letter, he uses logic to argue against the position of the clergymen to whom he is responding. He also explains his own position and the aims and reasoning behind the civil rights movement and their use of non-violent protest.

One example of fact used by King is: “Lamentably, it is a historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.” . Through this argument, the writer wants to remind his readers that the non-violent protests are necessary to pressure white authorities to grant African Americans equal rights.

To defend why he was involved in organizing the Birmingham protests and reject the accusation of being an outsider, King uses figures that show his organization is represented in Sothern states, including Alabama: “We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.”. Furthermore, King offers readers a detailed explanation of why he was in Birmingham, using reason to show his involvement was legitimate.

Numbers are also used to motivate why protesters are taking actions now by reminding readers that: “We have waited for more than 340 years for our con...

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