Assignment 1- the rhetorical analysis

Assignment One: The Rhetorical Analysis
In this assignment, I’m asking you to read and analyze one of the three following essays: “The
Race Question in the United States”; “The Strivings of the Negro People”; or “Race
Amalgamation”. Each can be found in Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents.
In making this request, I’m not asking you to moralize (e.g., “this was wrong and we know better
now”) or argue that this is a regrettable piece of US history (that should be forgotten).
Specifically, I want you to analyze the rhetoric of a specific text with respect to audience,
purpose, topic, and occasion. What this means is considering what we know about the audience,
purpose, topic, and occasion for the document through our shared readings, and you explaining
why the writer (or speaker) chose to discuss his topic in the fashion presented. Moreover, I want
you to explicit cite passages from The Mismeasure of Man and Plessy v. Ferguson that support
the claims you make concerning the rhetoric of which ever speaker’s/writer’s text you choose to
The Requirements This essay should be 3-5 pages long, double-spaced, utilize proper MLA
citation practices, and include a MLA-style works cited list. The essay should also include an
easily discernable thesis statement.
Don’t randomly choose things… use relevant evidence to make your case
English 2089
Dr. Brian Bailie
Oct. 17, 2015
Daniel Finke
All men are equal, but some are more equal than others. This paraphrase from George
Orwell’s Animal Farm adequately depicts America in the mid-1880s. Just because Abraham
Lincoln abolished slavery did not fix all the problems and struggles for newly freed black men
and women. In fact, it is evident that this caused more problems since many disagreed with the
decision and were not ready to accept them as American citizens. One man in particular, John
Tyler Morgan a confederate general and Democrat senator sought to set things straight. He made
it his own personal mission to keep Black Americans from overtaking or gaining any ground on
the “white way of life”. This was his goal and he wanted to reach the people of America of this
growing problem that he saw in his essay The Race Question in the United States.
Before we further describe Morgan’s goal, it is important to better understand his
background. As an adamant secessionist, he fought in the Civil War on the Confederate side.
After the war, he strongly promoted segregation of Blacks from Whites. It was clear that he did
not see African-American’s as equal based on his job and hobbies. He worked as a senator for
six years urged for strong segregation. At night however, he used his actions over his words. He
was a Grand Dragon for the Ku Klux Klan in which he took charge of specific realms against
black men and women. He still wanted more. He thought he had to convince the public to agree
with his beliefs.
At this time, the American Public started to lean towards acceptance of racial minorities.
This made it harder for Morgan to reach his audience with his prejudiced message. Several
scientists published data that would start a new war on racism. The idea that black people come
from an evolutionary lineage much lower than those of Anglo-Saxon descent. Morgan quickly
sided with these studies and used them in his articles and essays persuading others to segregate.
He knew that people tend to agree with ideas that have proof and evidence so these studies aided
in reaching the public for effectively.
John Tyler Morgan kept getting closer to fulfilling his goal of reaching the people who
did not initially agree with him. Before he had started his campaign against racial minorities,
some people had already taken his side with him; namely the rich white folks who truly believed
that black men would overrun their government. They were not his target. He aimed for the
people on the fence or those who disagreed with him. This newfound Biological Determinism
argument along with Scientific Racism helped him win many white Americans onto his side.
Morgan had his audience where he wanted them. He preached his message and gained an
overwhelming amount of support.
John Morgan quickly became a popular speaker because he understood the significance
of the rhetorical situation. He noticed the gap between his end goal and the people of America.
Once he found ways to fill that gap his success increased. On the other hand, he did not rush
people into taking his side as much as he would have liked. Rather, he gradually showed them
why they should adopt his point of view. Morgan did not want them to think he was springing a
trap on them, he just wanted them to see what he saw as truth. He wanted them to see how some
men were more equal than others.
Who was his Audience and how did he reach them
What he thought of Blacks and minorities
How he discriminated
His position on slavery
Point 2: What was his goal and what was his and how did he bridge the gap
Point 3: What was the result? Did he successfully bridge the gap and reach a lot of