As you read the passage below, consider how President Johnson uses
1, evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
2, reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
3, stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
Adapted from President Lyndon Johnson's Voting Rights Address, delivered March 15, 1965.
1 I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. 2 I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all races, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause. 3 At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom.... 4 In our time we have come to live with moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues; issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, our welfare or our security,but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved Nation. 5 The issue of equal rights for African Americans is such an issue, and should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation.... 6 Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult, but about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are black. 7 Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right. The African American citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent; and if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application. 8 And if he manages to fill out an application he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. 9 Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books-and I have helped to put three of them there-can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. 10 In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath.... 11 It is wrong-deadly wrong-to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.... 12 We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in; and we ought not and we cannot and we must not wait another eight months before we get a bill. We have already waited a hundred years and more, and the time for waiting is gone.... 13 Because it is not just African Americans, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice-and we shall overcome. 14 As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. 15 But a century has passed, more than a hundred years, since the slave was freed, and he is not fully free tonight It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.
Write an essay in which you explain how President Johnson builds an argument to persuade his audience that "emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact' In your essay, analyze how he uses one or more of the features listed in the box that precedes the passage (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.
Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Johnson's claims, but rather explain how he builds an argument to persuade his audience.
President Johnson's speech was made during a time when the nation debated whether all citizens should be able to vote. Johnson believed that they should. He also believed that African Americans were being illegally denied their voting rights and that laws should be passed to make sure everyone could vote. Johnson's speech persuades the audience that this is true through his use of evidence, reasoning, and style.
Johnson's use of evidence makes it clear that the injustice taking place Is obvious. He uses real examples and explains why the situation cannot be allowed to continue. He has answers for those who might ask, "But why is the situation so bad?" He can point to specific ways in which it is bad. In short, he has clearly thought through his ideas and can persuade people who disagree with him.
Johnson's reasoning is related to the Constitution. The United states is a democracy, and it is legally and morally right that citizens can vote. But even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed a hundred years before, many African Americans still could not vote, for the reasons Johnson lists. The system legally allows, people to prevent others from voting, but it 15 their right. This Is why Johnson argues that things must change.
Johnson's language is about Justice and a sense of belonging to a nation. He uses words like `us and "we' a lot. This suggests that people in the audience are supposed to feet responsibility for the current situation. They cannot ignore Ft. In fact, he says, even if the United States accomplishes great things, if they do not get voting rights right, "we will have failed as a people and as a nation."
In conclusion, any intelligent person listening to Johnson s speech would be persuaded by his reasoning, evidence, and language that even though slaves were freed many years before, the system was still racist and needed to change. They would surely have supported Johnson's idea that laws should be written in order to make the system fair.