Why did King mention so many of the states in the United States in his "I Have a Dream" speech?  

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There are at least two reasons that King does this.

First, he does it to make his speech sound inclusive.  When he mentions so many states, he sends the message that this is not a speech for any one part of the country.  It is a speech that is meant to apply to every part of the country whether North or South.

Second, he does this so that he can use the rhetorical device of "anaphora."  King uses anaphora here when he starts so many sentences with "Let freedom ring..."  In order to do that, it helps to have a lot of different places where freedom can ring.  By using the names of so many states, King is able to use anaphora to build his speech to a climax.


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