- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: Concordia University
- Language: English
- Downloads: 6
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Classic English Literature
The United States’ federal government shaped by the Constitution started operations in 1789 when the first Congress was summoned and George Washington became the President of the United States. The government was actually named a federal government due to the reason that it was created by a dense constitution among 13 different political units comprising all the various states of the country. All the states decided to hand over part of their independence so that a predominant authority is created and thus they surrendered themselves to it. As a result,what was fundamentally a cluster of 13 divided republics under the Articles of Confederation, combined to form one big nation under the Constitution. When America was declared as an independent nation in the year1776, the term United States of America was used in the Declaration of Independence issued after independence.
A plethora of rhetorical appeals have been used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence with an objective to appeal to the citizens of the United States. Jefferson uses a number of literary devices for successfully conveying his message to the people of America.
The entire first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is filled with logos as it essentially states why, in the first place, there is a need for creating a declaration of Independence. Jefferson states that societies need to disconnect or disintegrate from their past rulers, Britain in case of the United States, and depend on the powers of the Almighty and form a new community. He tries to logically convince the people in an effort to help them clearly understand the declaration of Independence document. He also goes on to explain (using logos) how the declaration of Independence would help the American citizens secure their rights with respect to the pursuit of their happiness, liberty, and their life as a whole. Similarly, Jefferson also continues in this same mode of explanation while trying to highlight the mistakes done by the rulers of Britain. He highlights the same in a very methodical manner stating appropriate facts to the people.
In the same manner, Jefferson explains the second paragraph of the document using pathos. While he reads out the statement– “Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government” he is essentially conveying the agony and suffering that the 13 colonies experienced while also persuading them to break out from the shackles of the English colonies. Even the last sentence of the document, which reads “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” has been read out by Jefferson wherein he appeals to the citizens in the same manner. This statement of the document essentially indicates how much each and every citizen of the United States was willing to sacrifice while also indicating the amount of passion that has gone into the making and drafting of this particular document.
The last paragraph of the document was authoritatively stated by Jefferson and this point to the use of ethos by him. He mentions that all those who have signed the Declaration of Independence including himself, were actually the representatives of the nation in the Congress and the same exhibits the position, authority, and integrity of all those enforcing the document and its contents. This kind of authority is also apparent when Jefferson highlights the misdoings and faults of the English king with appropriate mentioning of the facts. This appeal includes elements of both ethos as well as logos, as mentioned earlier. Jefferson actually provides substantiating evidence to all the claims he makes against the King of Britain thus making all the claims authentic and credible while imparting a sense of trustworthiness in the minds of the reader.
Jefferson has a very intellectual tone to his speech and the words he uses as well as to the overall tactic used in his writing. He makes use of eloquent, complex, and cultured language in order to make the readers understand the significance and gravity of his writing. He makes himself appear highly intellectual and clever through the use of such sophisticated and complicated language and also through the way he makes claims and explains facts to the people. Jefferson’s use of words like cruel, perfidy, autocracy, anguish, dissolved, and deaf indicate his scholarly phrasing. This eventually helps the audience comprehend that Jefferson is an intellect and is thoroughly cognizant of what he is talking. Jefferson makes each of every sentence he utters in a very delicate manner. He uses simple yet complex and declarative words and phrases to make his point clear while also substantiating them with appropriate facts.
In a nutshell, it is very clear that the Declaration of Independence is an important example of how all the three rhetorical elements, namely the ethos, logos, and the pathos can be used in a single document. Certainly, this document was, and would continue to remain the single most influential document as it essentially appeals to a wide range of emotions of people.
Kehen, William. United States Government. 1996. 22 September 2013
The United States Government. “Declaration of Independence.” 04 July 1776. The Charters of Freedom – a new world is at hand. 21 Sepember 2013