“Rhetorical Analysis of “I Have a Dream”


The day of August 28, 1963 At the Lincoln Memorial 200,000 people collected after the March on Washington. This is where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his speech “I Have a Dream” to America.

He spoke about the oppressions of segregation and discrimination of African Americans that was happening in our nation. In his very first statement he said, “I enjoy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest presentation for flexibility in the history of our country.” In this declaration he has stated what he existed to do.

He is speaking up for flexibility. This speech is one among few to show the liberty our nation was built upon. We are a country of democracy and our country was constructed on the truth that we deserve to “alter and set up brand-new government”(Congress). Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches and demonstrations would provoke a modification in the minds and hearts of the American people. He stood up and motivated a nation into action with his words. With his speech he masterfully uses Principles, Pathos, and Logo designs in his rhetoric to supply evidence to all Americans that bigotry and partition is not the intended foundation of America.


As he delivered his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial he analogizes Lincoln in his speech, “Five score years back, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation.” (King) His use of Lincoln brought authority into his speech. Lincoln was a powerful and excellent president who empowered the American individuals throughout the civil war. He got the trust of America and developed a brand-new sense of freedom. Martin Luther King is conjuring up the authority of Lincoln and his view on civil rights. This is supplying a strong ethos appeal and establishing credibility with his audience.

He also utilizes the Declaration to invoke authority in his cause. He estimates, ‘”unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of joy”‘ (Congress) (bible) his use of this quote is to use a supreme authority as being on his side. He is specifying that the American government has overlooked on the commitment to ALL of the American people. He is establishing his own reliability by using authority of a terrific American and our constitution.


His use of pathos is extraordinary as he strikes psychological worths of both black and white people. His use of the bible causes a psychological reaction, ‘”And the glory of the Lord will be exposed and all flesh will see it together.” (Isaiah) He is using the bible to provide a belief and faith in what he is stating is reality, and that all people will stand together.

His usage of metaphors throughout his speech is keeps his audience participated in his fight for liberty, he mentions “Therefore despite the fact that we deal with the problems these days and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.” (King) He uses the American dream to attract all Americans. He is saying that his dream belongs to the American dream that we all are worthy of to have the flexibility to dream.

He likewise utilizes the appeal that he is a dad which he desires more for his children. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day reside in a country where they will not be evaluated by the color of their skin however the content of their character.” (King) This is enabling the listener to relate to him as a daddy and the aspirations we hold for our children. It supplies a human appeal and uses pathos.

Logo designs

He also uses logos in his analogies. When he specifies, “America has provided the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.'” (King) His analogy is utilizing reasoning as a type of thinking. He reasons is that everybody comprehends cash and that the listener is able to associate with being handed a bad check.


Martin Luther King’s skillful and articulate usage of rhetoric in his “I have a Dream” speech was a major pivotal moment in American history and represented a firm mean equivalent rights. He spoke up to confront the issues of bigotry in our nation. This speech was not the beginning or the ending, but an impressive minute in the defend equal rights of everybody. “When all of God’s children, black men and white males, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will have the ability to sign up with hands and sing,” “Free at last! Free at last!” (King)