The Power of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech Persuasive Essay by Nicky

A discussion on the significance and legacy of the "I Have a Dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
# 148409 | 1,179 words | 6 sources | APA | 2011 | US

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Chosen as a "Paper of the Week":

Paper of the week
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 and is considered to be not only a model of rhetoric and effective communication, but also one of history’s most memorable and moving speeches.  In honor of this speech and, of course, the man who wrote it, paper #148409, “The Power of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech”, was chosen for this week’s Paper of the Week.  The paper analyzes King’s masterful use of rhetoric and metaphor, his social involvement and political background that lead to the delivery of this famous speech, and how far civil rights have advanced in the US since the death of King.  This paper uses quotes from King’s speech and makes comparisons to other US leaders to support points made and offers a highly insightful analysis of a famous speech and leader of the Civil Rights Movement.


The paper discusses King's approach to political activism and asserts that King's rhetorical style is part of the reason for his effectiveness as a political and social leader. The paper focuses on King's skillful rhetoric in the "I Have a Dream" speech, and argues that this speech eventually became the impetus for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and marked the culmination of years of work in achieving racial parity in the United States.

From the Paper:

""I Have a Dream" was carried live on American television ("The I Have a Dream Speech"). The scale of the event and the media coverage it received proved that by the time the March on Washington took place, the political and social climate of the country were changing. King's skillful rhetoric in the "I Have a Dream" speech included references to Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. King begins "I Have a Dream" with a direct allusion to the start of the Emancipation Proclamation by saying, "Five score years ago a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation," (King 1963). Interestingly, Lincoln had himself "offered brooding but eloquent confessions that social equality in America is more of a dream than a reality," (King & Washington 1992, p. xvi)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Civil Rights Act 1964." Retrieved May 4, 2009 from
  • Haberman, F.W. (1972). Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951-1970. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Excerpt on Retreived May 4, 2009 from
  • "The I Have a Dream Speech." US Constitution Online. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from
  • King, M.L. (1963). "I Have a Dream." Speech. Transcript available online at
  • King, M.L & Washington, J.M. (1992). I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World. HarperCollins.

Cite this Persuasive Essay:

APA Format

The Power of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech (2011, October 18) Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"The Power of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech" 18 October 2011. Web. 18 August. 2022. <>