Martin Luther King Jr and Nonviolent Resistance

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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This essay will analyze Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance. It will explore the principles behind this approach, its application in the civil rights movement, and its influence on social justice movements worldwide. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about I Have A Dream.

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In his article, published on the tenth anniversary of the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez invokes the ideals of Dr. King and advocates for nonviolent resistance.

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Implementing a resolute tone, he asserts that only nonviolence will be able to achieve the goals of civil rights activists. By using contrasting diction to differentiate violent actions and nonviolent actions he is able to reason for the virtues of the later; likewise his conviction and use of plural pronouns and a rhetorical question help to drive his arguement for nonviolent resistance.

Chavez begins his essay recalling the power of nonviolence as demonstrated through Dr. King, and moving on to compare and contrast violence and nonviolence, through very direct sentences, he indicates that nonviolence is more powerful than violence. While violence leads to “”injuries and perhaps deaths on both sides total demoralization (paragraph 4), nonviolence is supportive and crucial. His contrasting diction from images of deaths and injuries as compared to the righteousness of nonviolence helps to convince his listeners on which they would prefer. Likewise, his mentioning of violence as being harmful to “”both sides”” help establish an unbiased character, and demonstrates how violence is detrimental to anyone, regardless of his position on civil rights. He later moves on to once again directly stating contrast, “”nonviolence has exactly the opposite effect (paragraph 5. His attachment of words like support, consience and justice to nonviolence has the affect of making it more appealing to the audience and depicting why it is right and effective.

Throughout the passage, Chavez implements the plural pronoun “”we. His repetition of “”we are convinced in his article is appealing in that it is very inclusive. It does not alienate his readers. He contrasts the “”we with “”those who will see violence as the shortcut to change (paragraph 7). He portrays the “”we as a righteous sympathetic people, ones who “”know that [struggle] cannot be more important than human life (paragraph 6) and who “”are not blind to frustration, impatience, and anger (paragraph 7). By contrasting a compassionate nonviolent people, who are able to comprehend the importance of even one life, to the almost heartless people advocating for violence, his use of plural pronouns is in fact an emotional appeal that prompts the audience towards his side of the arguement.

He furthers this towards the end of his article, not only invoking the virtues which Ghandi taught in addition to Dr. King, but also by means of a rhetorical question. He is able to advocate for nonviolence by appealing to authority; his allusions to the teachings of Dr. King and Ghandi work as historical proofs that nonviolence is powerful and effective. Likewise, Chavez pairs this with a logical appeal in the form of, once again, very direct, declaritive sentences short but powerful. He, for example, asserts towards the end of his article, “”people suffer from violence. Examine history. He once again calls upon references to the past to make a logical arguement on why nonviolent resistance is the most successful form of resistance and pairs it with the rhetorical question: “”who gets killed in the case of violent revolution? In an instance of hypophora, he answers the poor, the workers, the people do, logically outlining the detriments of violence.

Chavez is able to present a very effective arguement for nonviolent resistance through countless rhetorical devices. His resolution and conviction polishes off his point nicely and is able to instill the same confidence in his audience. His powerful assertions whether in the form of short sentences or phrases such as “”we are convinced, “”we know”” or “”we believe”” effectively persuade the reader on the merits of nonviolent resistance.

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Martin Luther King Jr and Nonviolent Resistance. (2019, Jul 03). Retrieved from