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Lincoln and King

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Oscar Lopez

LBSU 304

December 4, 2016

Week 6

Lincoln and King

The president who led the Anti-Slavery Republican Party went by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King were very similar people who wanted to achieve the same goal.  His speech was delivered on the nineteenth November 1863 mat Gettysburg during the Civil War. His main objective was to abolish slavery and he did this partly by indirectly telling his audience, such as, purposely forgetting his status and addressing his ‘Fellow countrymen’ with intense respect which consequently reflects his beliefs in equality. Martin Luther King, a Baptist Minister, was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He performed his speech almost one hundred years after Lincoln’s speech on the twenty eighth August at Lincoln’s memorial. King believed in egalitarianism and he also wanted to end segregation; this is what both orators set out to do. Lincoln and King have similar purposes for their speeches but targeted them in different ways. Influenced by the great legend Mahatma Gandhi who also himself was a non-violent freedom fighter, King wanted to gain black people’s freedom the same way as Gandhi, in a non-violent protest. Lincoln had a similar contractual obligation. He was to abolish slavery. He conveyed this in his concise speech ‘for the people’. Both King and Lincoln have implicit messages in their speeches. Lincoln, apart from trying to abolish slavery, also promoted ‘The honored dead’ and making people understand what their ‘fathers’ had done for them and what is left for them to do. King, on the other hand, apart from trying to gain black people’s freedom, evokes a feeling of disgust by the use of metaphors to induce an image of the ‘governor’s lips’, ‘dripping with the words of interposition and nullification’ which evokes a sinister feeling within the audience which King hoped to achieve as it would divert the ‘Negro’s’ mind and evokes a feeling f disgust towards the government.

The use of emotive words engages both King and Lincoln’s audience. King unifies his audience at the ‘table of brotherhood’ which, apart from unifying the audience also has a religious impact on the black people as they were extremely religious and an indirect reference to Jesus and his disciples would have caused immense unity between the audience. This metaphor apart from providing unity, it also is a very peaceful metaphor as it includes everybody. In contrast, Lincoln believes that their ‘nation’ is ‘under God’. These religious references amalgamate the audience and make them think that they are doing this for ‘God’ and that they are ‘God’s children’. Both structure their speeches in similar ways. The speech is structured in chronological order as it bequeaths a rhythmic feel. Firstly, they talk about what their ‘fathers’ had to go through to get them this far, then they move into the present where both speech makers clearly make it noticeable that they talking about ‘now’. King introduces his future ingeniously by stating that he has ‘a dream’, which circuitously shows what he wants it to be like in the near future for his ‘four little children’. This poignant language also evokes sympathy not just for King but also for people around them who are going through the same traumatic experience. King uses a powerful voice to ‘Let freedom ring’ and to strengthen the speech to emphasize his beliefs of ‘freedom’. Lincoln also has a sense of vigor in his tone which shows how the soldiers ‘nobly advance’ and which portrays the strength of his own voice as well corroborating other people simultaneously. Religious and biblical manners are used by both speechmakers, which has a great impact on the nation at the same time, as persons at that time, especially black public were very religious. Lincoln refers to the people being ‘under God’ which would convey a thought of great expectations in the minds of the listeners. Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln intentionally use language to persuade their audience to fight freedom in a non-violent disapproval.



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