Rhetorical essay on the declaration of independence

He uses pathos to appeal to the shared roots and blood ties between the Americans and the British. Finally, he uses logos to establish basic principles of political conduct and then build a powerful case against King Charles III. The final clause of the Declaration of Independence is among its most rhetorically powerful. It is a statement of national solidarity. On the more literal end of the spectrum, such reliance could entail an expectation of divine insight and assistance. On the more figurative end of the spectrum, the statement could be a secular expression of faith—a sense, an optimism even, that ethical action will beget favorable outcomes.

This theme of Divine Providence has appeared in the writings of more recent American politicians.

Rhetorical Analysis of the Declaration of Independence free essay sample - New York Essays

In that speech, President Lincoln expresses a confidence that the cause of the Union in the Civil War—the eradication of slavery—is divinely mandated. It is during this passage that Jefferson claims the independence of the colonies. Along with the claim that the colonies are free and independent, there is the claim that it is morally correct that they are so.

The logic dictates that the relationship between the United States and Britain is determined by reason and circumstance, not whim or emotion. If war is justified, the relationship is one of enmity. If peace rules the day, then friendship follows. This rationale is an example of what Aristotle called logos , a rhetorical appeal to reason. Jefferson uses the word as an appeal of pathos , for it assumes that the Kingdom of Great Britain is fundamentally good and reasonable.

This sentence refers to the origins of American colonists and settlers; those origins are largely British. From as early as , with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, by English emigrants, North America had been most effectively colonized by the British. Jefferson suggests that the American colonies have sought reparations for the losses caused by the harmful actions of Britain, but without success. This statement is an example of an appeal to logos , or logic: because—among other reasons—the colonies have petitioned for redress without results, they therefore must officially separate from Britain.

By the time of the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence in , the American Revolutionary War was well underway. The violent acts perpetrated by the British, which Jefferson lists here, were acts of war.

Rhetorical Analysis of the Declaration of Independence Essays

Jefferson presents these acts as incursions and invasions because the war was fought almost exclusively on American, rather than British, soil. Therefore the war endangered the lives and property of civilians on the American side alone. This climate of invasion spurred Jefferson to write of the British attacks in such colorful, literary language.

This grievance further criticizes the king for not establishing new legislative bodies in their absence. By that logic, if a house of representatives disbands, their governing power is replaced from within by the people.


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With its emphasis on first principles, this passage is an excellent example of the rhetoric of logos , the appeal to logic. In this context, the suggestion is that the evils forced upon the American colonies by Britain are no longer sufferable, and therefore revolution is necessary.

The Declaration Of Independence Rhetorical Analysis

Exercising prudence, therefore, means to show caution and discretion. This use of diction helps Jefferson and the Continental Congress to not only make their declaration appeal to reason, but also make their cause for independence credible.


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  6. At the same time, the Declaration of Independence clearly states that conditions of life of Americans were unbearable and they could not afford tyranny of Britain anymore. Hence, the Declaration of Independence defines clearly the goal Americans wanted to reach — the independence of the US and free and happy life of Americans. Basically, the Declaration of Independence does not only define goals and principles according to which the US is supposed to live.

    In addition, the document contains the clear message, where the warrants are backed up with guarantees to Americans for their freedom, which is the ultimate goal of the entire document and which is clearly stated in the last part of the document. The warrants are backed up adequately with support because the Declaration of Independence defines clearly not only reasons for independence but also means with the help of which the new state can maintain its independence and keep progressing independently of Great Britain.

    The entire document is quite optimistic but, at the same time, it stresses the strong desire of Americans to get independence and start a new, better life.

    An Analysis of the Declaration of Independence

    In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the structure of the Declaration of Independence is quite clear. The three parts of the document contain the explanation of principles and reasons of the revolutionary struggle and its ultimate goal.

    The Truthful Rhetoric - Review of the Declaration of Independence

    In addition, the Declaration of Independence contains the clear arguments, where the author states the goals and expectations of Americans and shows the ways in which they can reach the desirable goals and gain independence. In fact, the Declaration contains proofs of the right of Americans to independence and show that they are really capable to create their own state and that they cannot afford living under the unbearable pressure from the part of Great Britain that makes the Declaration of Independence persuading and logical document.

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