“Debtors’ Prison” Rhetorical Strategies
English writer, Samuel Johnson, in his argument Debtor's Prison argues to persuade the reader that the imprisonment of debtors is unlawful and immoral. He utilizes pathos, statistics and rhetorical questions to build his argument.
Throughout the excerpt, Johnson uses startling statistics to show the morally incorrect circumstances of imprisoning debtors. In paragraph 4 the author states that the population of England was roughly around 6 million. He then goes on to state, “… a nation that voluntarily sacrifices one in every three hundred…” Here, the author is saying that there are simply too many people (too many working bodies) being imprisoned over something like debt. Johnson also uses statistics in paragraph 6 to show how this unlawful imprisonment affects England’s economy. Johnson states, “… the public loss will rise… to three hundred pounds…” The author is informing his audience that their tax money is constantly being wasted on people imprisoned by debt. By utilizing statistics, Johnson supported his argument.
In the text, Johnson also uses a constant flow of pathos to make his audience sympathize with the debtors. In paragraph 2, the author describes the emotions that are running through spectator’s minds as they watch someone being imprisoned. “A...