Women’s Right to Vote

June 23, 2017 General Studies

In her speech “On Woman’s Right to Vote”, Susan B. Anthony argues that women should get equal rights as men and have the ability to vote. She is mainly using logos in her argument as a form of reasoning to be persuasive. Logos is one of the most important techniques to use in a argument because you can persuade an audience by using logical reasoning, and Anthony understands this. She uses supporting facts to back up her claim.

She states that, “this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution” (Anthony). Anthony asserts that the Constitution states all citizens of the United States have the right to vote. Therefore, this gives the equal and natural rights of all people a voice in the government, including women. By using logos throughout her speech she can appeal to the audience with logic and reason.

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She also uses ethos in her speech because an audience is more likely to be persuaded by someone who they trust and respect. She opens the speech saying “friends and fellow citizens”, which establishes that she has a good character and is respectful. Anthony went through the discrimination first hand, so she can be honest to her audience and explain her way of thinking. If the audience trusts her, then they expect that what she is telling them is true. This first hand experience provides a very successful argument, and she appears credible. Anthony uses pathos the least.

She wants to prove her character and intellect based on the substance of the speech, rather than persuade the audience with pathos, and appeal to emotion. Her argument will evoke an emotional response at times, but it is very indirect. Anthony uses ethos and logos to support her claims in this speech a majority of the time. Anthony also uses other figures of speech and techniques to persuade the audience in her speech. She uses repetition to emphasize a particular word, phrase or idea. The word “we” is being repeated so the claim has greater impact and effectiveness.

Anthony quotes the preamble to the Constitution, which contains the word “we”, she does this because it relates to her claim that every citizen in the United States should be able to vote. When she gives her speech to her audience, which is mostly white males, it can make her claim persuasive. Anthony also poses questions to the audience. She does this so the audience can consider why things are the way they are. The audience can then explore how things could be different. The use of ethos, logos, and pathos make Susan B. Anthony’s speech effective, along with the other figures of speech and techniques.


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