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The Rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence Essay Sample

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The Rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence Essay Sample

The, Declaration of Independence was one of the most important documents written in human history. Its ideas influenced revolutions and constitutions all over the world even centuries after being written. Despite it’s success deriving partly from its implications, the document would not have been so momentous had it not used such effective rhetorical strategies. Thomas Jefferson attempts to gain the support of the unresponsive colonists through claims aimed at their judgment and emotional vulnerability. Jefferson presents his grievances and points, in an orderly fashion, consequently appealing to the logic of the readers. His list includes everything from, “He has refused his Assent to Laws…” to, “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” This tactic allows the audience to process each individual claim so they can fully comprehend his whole argument.

As the list builds up, he intends for the readers to realize the monumental amount of acts of, “tyranny” the King has committed so they can see the logical standpoint of the rebels. As humans, the audience find it hard to ignore the irrefutable evidence that the King has committed countless wrongs against them and their country. It is human nature that people will be more likely to side with the underdogs, if they believe that they have truly been abused and mistreated by the higher power. Jefferson hopes that the colonists will come to realize the, “obvious” misdoings of the King and become more partial to the Patriots.

The author utilizes emotive language to appeal to a sense of nationalism within the colonists. Towards the end of the text, Jefferson repeats plural subjects such as in the sentence, “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” This strategy intends to create feelings of unity and involvement within the audience that emphasizes the importance of the colonists coming together as a nation. The repetition of the words such as, “we” and, “our” attempt to give the readers the sensation of being a part of something bigger than themselves, something important that affects everyone. Emotions such as nationalism and pride foster when the public comes together and each person feels they have a fundamental part in society and the revolution. With this, colonists are more likely to fully support the Patriots as they population feels more values and appreciated.

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