Logos, ethos, and pathos

Malcolm X’s speech “The Ballot or the Bullet” is intended to encourage African Americans to take the Civil Rights Movement forward and become even more determined in actively fighting for their rights. To convince the audience and build a more compelling case, the speaker relies on rhetorical modes of persuasion known as ethos (appeal to trust and authority), pathos (appeal to emotions) and logos (appeal to reas…

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Table of contents

Logos

Malcolm X constantly appeals to the audience’s reason throughout the speech as he uses numerous examples of facts, statistics, and logical arguments. Language markers of logos are words that suggest a causal link, such as: “because”, “for”, “since”, “therefore”, “it means that”, etc. 

In many cases, the speaker uses logical reasoning to argu…

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Ethos

The speech is filled with ethos-focused language, as the speaker appeals to the authority of laws, religion, and international organizations to show that African Americans should unite and fight together for rights that rightfully belong to them: “Article number two of the constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun”; “When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights, you can then take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the UN.”

To maintai…

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