Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America, greatly influenced our history. He contributed many benefits to our country such as the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, sent Louis and Clark on an expedition to find the Pacific Ocean in 1804, and of course his most famous contribution: drafting the Declaration of Independence. This treasured document contains many significant points but the most influential and well-known statement that we still abide by today is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.".
Benjamin Banneker, son of former slaves, realized the irony and hypocrisy in this part of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, technically believing in equality, contradicted his own claim because he owned hundreds of slaves on his plantation. Therefore, Banneker decides to write a letter to Jefferson which includes rhetorical strategies such as pathos and an extended analogy, in order to persuade Jefferson let his slaves go and to abolish slavery once and for all. Pathos appeals to the emotion of the audience. Banneker uses pathos to remind Jefferson of how he was inspired to incorporate the statement about equality into the Declaration. "This sir, was a time in which you clearly saw into the injustice of a state of slavery and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition" (lines 15-17). He also reminds him of the hypocrisy that his actions express. "you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act which you professedly detested in others with respect to yourselves" (lines 38-41). .
The most significant rhetorical strategy in this letter is the extended analogy. All throughout the letter, Banneker compares Jefferson's struggles with the British government to the African Americans' struggles with slavery.