Lincoln and king


Lincolnand king

Thispaper will analyze the speech by President Abraham Lincoln at hissecond inauguration and Martin Luther King, Jr letter from Birminghamjail and attempt to connect the two letters. First, the speech byPresident Abraham Lincoln was brief and only took six to sevenminutes to convey. In his speech, Lincoln offered his reflections oncivil war meaning and its causes. He explained how the scourge of warwas as a result of divine punishment because of the slavery sin. Thepresident’s address had the power of a sermon and incorporated manyreligious themes such as sin, redemption and sacrifice. The mainpurpose for this speech was to reunite a country that was divided andat war. On the other Martin Luther King, Jr. is associated with civilright movement in America. In his lengthy letter from Birminghamjail, he addressed various grievances such as discrimination andsocial injustices experienced by African Americans in the nation(Anastaplo, 2001).

Firstboth Martin Luther King, Jr and President Abraham Lincoln through theabove writings demonstrated their oratory skills and strongpersuasive appeal to their audience. Obviously, from the Birminghamjail letter, Dr. King used logos, evidence, and facts so that theaudience can well relate to his arguments. From this letter, it isclear that King is can be very effective in changing other people’sopinions to support him and his actions. In contrast, PresidentAbraham Lincoln speech was short and used various rhetorical, inorder to achieve its main purpose of uniting a divided nation. Thepresident used positive diction to create a feeling of unity andforgiveness and expressed the course he hoped the nation to take. Inhis speech, optimistic tone is used to encourage American to stop thecivil war and make the nation progress (Asselin &amp Ortiz, 2014).

Secondly,both President Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr can beconnected in how they brought attention to the whole world on how theAfrican Americans treated unfairly. President Abraham Lincoln knewthat slavery was a great moral problem and believed that it would notendure forever. Lincoln hoped that all Americans would eventuallycome to realize that it was incompatible with citizens freedomsarticulated in the Declaration of Independence. The president hopedthat the issue of slavery would ultimately go into extinction.Additionally, President Abraham Lincoln in his inaugural addresswanted to unite the people of America by giving interpretation on howthe conflict between the North and South was as a result of divinejudgment. He wanted both north and south to achieve lasting peace.Finally, the president’s speech ended with words of reconciliationaimed at uniting all American people. President Abraham Lincoln iswell known for how he assisted in ending of slavery in America(Asselin &amp Ortiz, 2014).

Incontrast, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known as a leader forequality. He led many peaceful demonstrations in order to inform theworld of the discrimination against the blacks. The blacks in thenations at the time got deprived of employment opportunities, andeducation King argued in his letter that the racial violence,discrimination and discrimination against African Americannecessitated the demonstrations. In his letter, he articulated thelong terms goals of the demonstration. Thirdly, both leaders can beconnected in how they are respected figures in the history of Americaand they fought hard to improve the overall status of the AfricanAmerican in the nation (Mansch, 2005).

Onething that separate President Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King,Jr letters is the time difference of almost 100 years. Despite theseparation, the speeches still inspire the world even today. They arepreserved in popular literature and are often quoted in various civilrights movement or political environments.

Whatstands out most in President Abraham Lincoln at his secondinauguration is how he used paradoxes to demonstrate his greatnessand effectiveness in appealing to the audience. The speech isobviously giving hope in the midst of destruction. In his address,challenges of democracy are recognized where men are viewed asdifferent and will have to disagree. This speech beautifullydemonstrated his ability to choose the right quotations where he usedrelatively unfamiliar Bible verse to express his thoughts about God’sjudgment. Some Americans regard Abraham Lincoln as the greatemancipator, for giving freedom to the African American slaves(Norton, 2012).

Alternatively,Martin Luther King, Jr letter from Birmingham jail stands out in howit captured the attention of the intended audience by first appealingto their foundations and traditions. The letter is structured in away that it is simple and direct and forced those he wished to pleato pay attention.

Inconclusion, this paper has analyzed both the letter and the speechand it is clear that President Abraham Lincoln and Martin LutherKing, Jr had noble intentions and acknowledged God for strength andencouragement in their writing. As a result of their action, therehave been significant changes in bringing reforms in the segregatedsystem America.


Anastaplo,G. (2001). AbrahamLincoln: A Constitutional Biography.Lanham: Rowman &amp Littlefield Publishers.

Asselin,K. C., &amp Ortiz, P. (2014). MartinLuther King Jr: Civil Rights Leader.Minneapolis, Mn : Abdo Publishing Company.

Mansch,L. D. (2005). AbrahamLincoln, President-Elect: The Four Critical Months From Election ToInauguration.Jefferson (N.C.: Mcfarland &amp Company.

Norton,M. B. (2012). APeople &amp A Nation: A History Of The United States.Boston: Wadsworth,Cengage Learning.

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