Benjamin Banneker was brought up by two former slaves on a farm and was always surrounded by slavery. Benjamin Banneker went on to becoming an astronomer, mathematician, surveyor as well as an author. Even though Banneker’s family wasn’t the wealthiest he still went on to prospering in his many professions. Once Benjamin grew up and accumulated many accomplishments he realized that if he was a slave he wouldn’t have been able to do what he had done. He took it upon himself to write a letter to Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson.
In the letter he uses rhetorical strategies to argue against slavery in which each one makes his argument even more compelling. One strategy that Benjamin Banneker uses in his argument against slavery was convincing Jefferson to look back to when slavery was in high demand. When slaves were seen as very resourceful, being that Jefferson owned slaves himself. Banneker made it clear that the slaves he owned are the ones that helped him live a marvelous life.
Those slaves were the ones who couldn’t live their own lives due to the measures of slavery. Benjamin wanted Jefferson to remember the people that he once owned and the circumstances that they were held in. Banneker stated “you cannot but acknowledge that the present freedom and tranquility which you enjoy you have mercifully received and that it is the peculiar blessing of Heaven”. Benjamin was trying to show Jefferson that he had his freedom because he was blessed enough to be free and being obtained to slavery.
As I continued to read the excerpt, the next strategy that Banneker had used was to have Jefferson to reflect on his feelings about slavery. He reminded him that he once saw slavery as injustice and had apprehensions on the conditions of slavery. Benjamin also reminded him that it was those same feelings that led him to say “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. , something so profound, to look at slaves finally individuals rather than property.
Benjamin Banneker’s last strategy was to send Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State on a guilt trip. At this point in the letter he makes it come across as if he has said enough on the situation and now it was time for Jefferson to think about what was said preciously mentioned in the letter. Banneker then went on to referring to a figure from the Bible, Job. Job is a man who endures much suffering.
To elucidate the guilty he was trying to put on him he quoted “put your souls in their souls stead” to make him realize what a slave may feel and that in doing so that would make soften the heart of those would where for slavery. The reason to why Benjamin Banneker wrote the letter to Thomas Jefferson was to argue against slavery. He uses rhetorical strategies such as having Jefferson look back and recall what exactly slavery did, to reflect his feelings about slavery and sent him on a guilt trip. All of these strategies were compelling to the point it resulted in Thomas Jefferson to reply to Banneker’s letter.