Forms of appeal

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King mostly constructed using ethos and pathos, but a few instances of logos are also included. The speaker uses these forms of appeal to encourage the audience to support the Civil Rights Movement by illustrating why this movement is necessary and what it will achieve.



King appeals to reason in the speech by mentioning facts and using logical arguments which support his views on racial discrimination.

For example, he lists several real situations in which African Americans are discriminated against:  

…the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. (ll. 83-87)

Additionally, when he creates the extended metaphor of the Civil Rights Movement being like cashing a check (ll. 20-37), King uses a logical line of reasoning. The analogy shows that African Americans deserve the same rights as everyone else:

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note…. (ll. 24-28)


The speaker appeals to trust and authority in “I ...

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