It deals with the facts of the situation in a way his critics fail to do. It details the local political situation and the ramifications of the recent elections. It explains in detail why non-violent disobedience is the ideal way to proceed. It refutes each element of the argument put forward by the eight white clergymen, one by one. King's basic arguments in the "Letter" is that just laws should be followed, and unjust laws should be openly and deliberately disobeyed.
But in order to win people over to this simple idea, he needs to do more than engage his readers' emotions. So he writes almost like a lawyer for a stretch, defining just and unjust laws from a couple different angles.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself.
This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered.
Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured? Hard to refute, right? This is a very precise definition of just vs. Even if a reader didn't quite get the point he's making here about "sameness" and "difference made legal," they surely understood the point about democracy. King is best remembered for his sonorous voice, towering metaphors, and rousing emotional appeals, inside every speech, sermon, and letter of his is a thoughtful, logical argument.
What's Up With the Opening Lines? King counters this position by stating that despite his gentleness, Boutwell is still a segregationist who needs to be forced to change: King gives numerous examples of the personal and political wrongs that have occurred while African-Americans waited for racial equality.
Under the burden of such injustice, impatience is understandable. Just laws accord with moral law and should be obeyed. Laws can also be unjust in their application. King provides the example of the law against parading as one that is unjust in application because it is explicitly applied to prevent the exercise of free speech.
King then uses the resistance of early Christians and the Boston Tea Party as examples to establish that civil disobedience is an old and respected response to unjust laws.
King expresses his disappointment in the inaction of white moderates, who fear disorder more than injustice and who believe they have the right to tell African-Americans to wait on their freedom. King believes that this moment is therefore the right time to act. King also lets the reader see and hear both sides of the story but King acquires a stronger opinion.
All of the rhetorical devices King uses in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail make his opinion, refuting argument, and overall stance much stronger. Letters from Birmingham Jail. Accessed September 14, We will write a custom essay sample on Letters from Birmingham Jail specifically for you.
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Letter From Birmingham Jail Analysis essaysDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the "Letter From Birmingham Jail" in order to address the biggest issue in Birmingham and the United States at the time. The "Letter From Birmingham Jail" discusses the great injustices happening toward.
An Analysis of Letter from a Birmingham Jail Essay Words | 5 Pages. Letter from a Birmingham Jail was written by Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. in April of , as he sat, as the title states, in a Birmingham, Alabama jail.
Analysis of Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail “Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ was written by Martin Luther King in the year This was an open letter written by Martin Luther King from a Birmingham jail in Alabama, where he had been imprisoned for participating in the arrangement and organization of a peaceful . Letter From Birmingham Jail study guide contains a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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