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A Rhetorical Analysis of the Declaration of Independence

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Thomas Jefferson was known for completing an abundance of accomplishments in his lifetime. He was a valued statesman who attended college at William & Mary and had natural leadership abilities. Because of his education and his eloquence, Jefferson later became the author of the foundational U.S. document known as the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson's purpose to writing this document was to educate and inform Britain as to the nature of the colonies intentions. He utilizes an educated and reasonable tone, in order to inform his audience of the reasons for the colonies actions (Jefferson 111).

In literature, persuasive techniques are the most commonly used methods to stir the audience's emotions, and to get them to think or act in a certain way. The Declaration of Independence is a document that grasps all persuasive techniques and appeals, and uses them to influence and enlighten its audience. The most frequently persuasive appeal used in the Declaration of Independence is the logical appeal. The logical appeal builds a well-reasoned argument based on evidence, such as facts, statistics, or expert testimony (111). Jefferson chooses these strategies because he wanted King George and other heads of government to take the time and read the document to explain his means and motives.

At the beginning of the document, Jefferson uses logical appeal to explain the reasons the colonies should declare independence. Jefferson states "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" (Jefferson 112). This quote implies that when it's necessary for people to separate from their government and to become their own country, they are entitled to do this by God and nature. The Logical appeal is conveyed by using the rhetorical device of loaded words and reasons. These rhetorical strategies were used to help Jefferson achieve his purpose and reach his audience.

Once Jefferson clearly established the logical reasons for declaring freedom from England he emphasizes why the decision is wise by establishing ethical arguments. (TO BE CONTINUED)



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