Swift’s argument in “A Modest Proposal” is targeted toward the Irish and English governments of the time. This is evident by the irony that spouts from his rhetoric all throughout the pamphlet.
In addition, Swift also uses Aristotle’s appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos to further sway the reader.To earn the audience of the British people, Swift had to play their heartstrings, as well as set up a logical basis for progression. He describes what he aims to solve as issues that would be “agreed by all parties” to be “great additional grievances.” Among these issues he addressed homeless beggars, especially children, “voluntary Abortions,” and the prominent act of thievery among the impoverished youth.
His focus on the youth and poor conditions of life would most likely have drawn in the public to consider what he would later propose, as they are issues that were prevalent and of dire need of solution. The human tie to the wellbeing of children would inspire the British people to want to help them in whatever way possible. He also supports his ideas by claiming that the children shall not be a “charge upon their Parents, or the Parish,” but be a benefit to society by “contributing to the Feeding and partly to the Clothing of many Thousands” of people. This proposal not only solves the problems, but does so inexpensively and with an increased benefit of providing for the other impoverished. This logical appeal would most likely have make his audience more likely listen to his idea, as it thus would have seemed to be a convenient solution with no yet apparent drawbacks.