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Rhetorical Essay

Cynthia Villa Ms. Thompson AP Language 30 September 2011 Formal Essay Response Freedom and Equality is something everyone wants and what people try and live by. If you think about it, back then everyone wasn’t “free” whether it had to do with being an African American or a woman. “What the Black Man Wants” by Frederick Douglass and “What the American Woman Wants” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton are both two speeches that are trying to persuade their audiences for freedom basically.

Douglass is arguing that all African American should be free to live life for themselves and Stanton argues that women need their rights just like men because they deserve it. Both of the speeches have pathos and logos to prove their arguments, while Douglass uses repetition and Stanton uses idioms. Frederick argues that American people shouldn’t have the right to tell someone how to live especially if one can go about all by themselves. Douglass states that “If the Negro cannot live by the line of eternal justice…the fault will not be yours, it will be his who make the Negro, and established that line for his government.

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Let him live or die by that” meaning that when they are free to be it in the end if they mess us it will not be the governments fault for their failure but if the government has this type of control over African Americans then they’ll be the ones too blame because they set them up for failure. I consider this to be logos and pathos because the statement is true, if you aren’t letting someone live to be and do something good then you are the one to blame if they fail at life because you didn’t give them the opportunity.

This ties into Elizabeth’s argument because she as well wants women to have freedom and rights like men do, and they don’t because society doesn’t give them the chance. Stanton states that “to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support…to take wages which she earns, the property she inherits, and, in case of separation, the children of her love; laws which make her mere dependent on his bounty” meaning that they contribute a lot to a man’s success therefore why houldn’t they be allowed to have the same rights that men do. She uses pathos and logos because logically it all makes sense and pathos because in order to fully understand why women are so upset they must realize all the things women do for society. A strategy that Douglass uses in his speech is repetition. Towards the end of Fredericks speech, he uses the phrase “Let him alone! ” repeatedly to emphasize how frustrated he is about Negros not being able to walk down the street without them being told anything or looked at a certain way.

He is demanding that they just be left alone to live like everyone else because he knows that if they are given a chance they will take and if they don’t then there isn’t anyone to blame. On the other hand Stanton uses figurative language; she states that “So long as your women are slaves you may throw you colleges and churches to the winds. You can’t have scholars and saints as long as your mothers are ground to powder…” meaning that as long as women don’t have rights then men in general wouldn’t be who they are because women are the ones who raise a man.

The two speeches have the same concept of letting certain people have the same rights as others. In Douglass’s the Negro’s having the rights as everyone else in society and in Elizabeth’s speech the women having the same equality and freedom as men do. The only difference is that people they are arguing for and the different types of strategies they used to persuade you and get you to understand their point of view.


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