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Analysis of The Declaration of Independence - Essay Example

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Analysis of the Declaration of Independence
While the document holds seminal historical importance, it also stands on its own as a work of profound rhetoric and literature. This essay analyzes the text for its rhetorical techniques and historical elements, with particular consideration of pathos and logos. …
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Analysis of The Declaration of Independence

Download file to see previous pages... While the Declaration of Independence demonstrates considerable historical importance, a large part of its lasting appealing is because of the power rhetorical tools the text implements. Within this context of understanding, perhaps the most powerful rhetorical tool is Jefferson’s implementation of pathos to engage the emotional appeal of the readers. From the very opening of the document, Jefferson implements slightly melodramatic language as a means of creating this emotional response within the reader. Consider Jefferson when he writes,
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation (Jefferson).
While these textual elements function to establish the purpose of the document, they are also written in a lyrical way that draws the attention of the reader to the importance and viability of this declaration. Evident here, as well as later in the text, is also a carefully crafted rhetorical structure. In these regards, one notes that Jefferson’s sentences are not simply constructed as one might construct a legal document, but are highly considered for things such as alliteration and parallel structure. This is highly evident in the quote above, as well as in statements such as the seminal, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson). Ultimately, this lyrical quality functions within Jefferson’s emotional pathos technique of engaging the reader. In addition to these stylistic elements of rhetoric, the text also implements strong appeals based on logos. Indeed, in considering the Declaration of Independence in terms of logos, one of the most powerful articulations is the role of government. In these regards, the overarching understanding is that it protects citizens’ rights. In these regards, Jefferson makes the seminal statement, “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson). While this is a broad and rhetorical statement, its primary argument holds true. While the Declaration of Independence in large part illustrates the functions of government that England failed to accomplish, in considering some of these points, one demonstrate some of the important roles of government. Regarding England, Jefferson indicates that he has “refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature” (Jefferson). Here, Jefferson is indicating that the British government failed to provide adequate representation to individuals. Ultimately, when one views the slanted and dysfunctional nature of dictatorships, the importance of this function is made abundantly clear. As the text progresses Jefferson abandons the earlier lyrical quality for the more legal-like structure wherein a series of grievances are listed. This technique has powerful logos appeal as the culmination of these grievances builds such ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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